Lawsuit dismissed because Missouri’s discrimination definition doesn’t include sexual orientation

Photo courtesy of RoyGBiv/Jezebel
Photo courtesy of RoyGBiv/Jezebel

A Kansas City-area man cannot sue his former employer for discrimination because Missouri’s legal definition of discrimination does not include sexual orientation, says the state’s western district appeals court.

James Pittman’s lawsuit claimed that, because he is gay, he was fired from Cook Paper Recycling and was subjected to a hostile work environment. His case was dismissed by a lower court nearly two years ago, in part because sexual orientation is not included in Missouri’s definition of discrimination.

This week, a three-judge panel voted 2 to 1 against Pittman, saying that the word “sex” in the state’s anti-discrimination law refers to gender, and that the legislature has made it clear that it cannot be interpreted to include sexual orientation.

Pittman’s lawyer is appealing the western appeals court ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Read more from St. Louis Public Radio

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