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Missouri Employment Law

At-Will Employment

In Missouri employment law, the general rule regarding at-will employment is “that in the absence of a contract for employment for a definite term or a contrary statutory provision, an employer may discharge an employee at any time, without cause or reason, or for any reason and, in such cases no action can be obtained for wrongful discharge.” Amaan v. City of Eureka, 615 S.W.2d 414,415 (Mo. 1981).

  • An agreement as to the amount of compensation but without a definite term of employment does not change the at-will status of an employee.

Missouri Whistle-Blower Claims

The Missouri Whistleblower’s Protection Act protects employees from discharge who:

  • has reported an employer’s unlawful act to the proper authorities;
  • has reported to the employer serious misconduct in violation of a clear mandate of public policy found in the constitution, statute, or regulation; or
  • has refused to carry out an employer’s unlawful directive.

An employer is not protected if:

  • the employee is a supervisory, managerial, or executive or an officer and the misconduct is of the kind the employee is responsible for either reporting or provide a professional opinion;
  • the proper authority or person whom the employee reported the violation is the person who is committing the violation.

Under this act “employer” does not include the state of Missouri or it’s agencies, instrumentalities of other divisions of the state government.

Missouri Worker’s Compensation

In Missouri employment law, employers with 5 or more employees and all construction employers are required to obtain and post notice of worker’s compensation insurance. There are a number of exceptions therefore, seeking the advice of an attorney regarding a worker’s compensation claim is highly recommended.

An injured employee has 30 days to notify their employer of their injury and a 2-year time limit to file a claim with the Division of Worker’s Compensation.

Types of benefits required by Missouri employment law are as follows:

  • medical Care;
  • temporary total disability;
  • permanent partial disability and;
  • death benefits.

Missouri Human Rights Act

The Missouri Human Rights Act is Missouri’s state anti-discrimination law. It details the law concerning discrimination in housing, public spaces and employment. The following discusses the Act’s employment law implications.

Unlawful Employment Practices

  • It is an unlawful employment practice to because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability:
  • fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
  • limit, segregate, or classify his employees or his employment applicants in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee.

Discrimination in Labor Organizations:

  • It is unlawful for a labor organization to exclude or to expel from its membership any individual or to discriminate in any way against any of its members or against any employer or any individual employed by an employer because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability of any individual.
  • It is unlawful to limit, segregate, or classify its membership, or to classify or fail or refuse to refer for employment any individual, in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities, or would limit such employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee or as an applicant for employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability.
  • It is unlawful for any employer, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs to discriminate against any individual because of his race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability in-admission to, or employment in, any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training.
  • For any employer or employment agency to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for employment or to make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment, which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, or discrimination, because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification or for an employment agency to fail or refuse to refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age as it relates to employment, or disability, or to classify or refer for employment any individual because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability.
  • It shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to apply different standards of compensation, or different terms, conditions or privileges of employment pursuant to a bona fide seniority or merit system, or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production or to employees who work in different locations, provided that such differences or such systems are not the result of an intention or a design to discriminate, and are not used to discriminate, because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age or disability, nor shall it be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to give and to act upon the results of any professionally developed ability test, provided that such test, its administration, or action upon the results thereof, is not designed, intended or used to discriminate because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age or disability.

Missouri Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage according to Missouri employment law is $9.45. The minimum wage will increase by $0.83 every year until 2023.

  • Tipped Employees- Employers are required to pay employees half of the current minimum wage. Currently a tipped employee should be paid $4.725. However, if the total compensation for the employee does not total the current minimum wage, the employer should compensate said employee the regular minimum wage amount.
  • All businesses are required to pay at minimum, the $9.45 per hour rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000.00.

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