Missouri Employment Law Update – November 2018

Missouri

Medical Marijuana Legalized

On November 6, 2018, Missouri voters approved the Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Services Initiative (Missouri Amendment 2), amending the state’s constitution and legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The initiative does not permit a person to bring a claim against any employer, former employer, or prospective employer (employer) for wrongful discharge, discrimination, or any similar cause of action or remedy, based on the employer prohibiting an employee, former employee, or prospective employee (employee) from being under the influence of marijuana while at work or disciplining the employee, up to and including termination from employment, for working or attempting to work while under the influence of marijuana.

The initiative is effective December 6, 2018.

Read the initiative

Minimum Wage Increases

On November 6, 2018, Missouri voters approved the $12 Minimum Wage Initiative (Proposition B) increasing the state’s minimum wage as follows:

  • $8.60 per hour effective January 1, 2019.
  • $9.45 per hour effective January 1, 2020.
  • $10.30 per hour effective January 1, 2021.
  • $11.15 per hour effective January 1, 2022.
  • $12 per hour effective January 1, 2023.

As of January 1, 2024, the state’s minimum wage will increase or decrease based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. If at any time the federal minimum wage rate is higher than the state’s rate, the federal rate will apply. However, none of these increases apply to public employers.

The new law also imposes the following:

  • Employers who pay an employee less than that which is required by law will be liable to the employee for the full amount of the wage rate and an additional amount equal to twice the unpaid wages as liquidated damages.
  • All actions for the collection of any deficiency in wages must commence within three years (an extension from the former standard of two years) of the accrual of the cause of action.

Read the initiative

Disability Discrimination

On October 15, 2018, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights amended the state’s regulation prohibiting discrimination based on an individual having a handicap so as to eliminate language inconsistent with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The amended regulation also changed the requirements for pre-employment inquiries, pre-employment exams, and exam administration. Importantly, employers are now prohibited from making pre-employment inquiries of an applicant, asking if he or she has a physical or mental impairment or about the nature or severity of an impairment. Employers also may not use any test that tends to screen out applicants with disabilities. Lastly, if an employer administers a test, the test results must accurately reflect the applicant’s or employee’s job skills, aptitude, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure and not the applicant’s or employee’s impaired sensory, manual, reading, or speaking skills unless those skills are factors that the test purports to measure.

The regulation is effective November 30, 2018.

Read 8 CSR 60-3.060

Veteran’s Preference in Hiring and Promotion

On June 1, 2018, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed legislation (S.B. 573) permitting private, nonpublic employers to grant preference to hiring and promoting veterans. Additionally, a private, nonpublic employer may grant preference in hiring and promotion to a spouse of a disabled veteran who has a service-connected permanent and total disability or to a surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. A disabled veteran is a person who has a compensable, service-connected disability as determined by the U.S. Veterans Administration or by the retirement board of one of the branches of the armed forces.

The law took effect August 28, 2018.

Read MO S.B. 573