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Kansas City Discrimination Attorneys 

The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, disability, sex, and national origin within the sectors of housing, employment, and places of public accommodation. It also prohibits age discrimination in employment, as well as familial status in housing. 

Krigel & Krigel represents employees and employers in discrimination claims in Kansas City. For proven legal representation that you can trust, call us at (816) 578-0077 or submit an online contact form here.

Discrimination in Employment

If you believe your employer has engaged in discriminatory practices against you, you may be able to file a charge of discrimination. Our lawyers can help. 

Illegal discriminatory practices include: 

  • Asking pre-employment questions related to a protected class 
  • Denying employment opportunities based on a protected class 
  • Harassing a current employee based on characteristics of a protected class 
  • Retaliating against an individual for filing a discrimination complaint or complaining to human resources (or supervisor) about discriminatory treatment

Federal and State-Protected Classes 

Age-related discriminatory actions can include harassment and bias in compensation, hiring, job assignments, promotions, termination, and retaliation based on an employee or candidate’s age. While federal law protects individuals aged 40 and over, the Missouri Human Rights Act protects individuals aged 40-69 from unlawful discrimination in the workplace due to age. 

Under the Act, all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment are protected from discrimination, including job assignments, training, compensation, hiring/firing, etc. The Act applies to employers with 6 or more employees, and extends to job notices and advertisements, as well as pre-employment inquiries. 

Taking any discriminatory action against an individual with a disability, including those with a history of disability and those believed to have a disability, is a violation of federal law (specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended “ADAAA”) as well as the Missouri Human Rights Act.

If an employee or applicant qualifies for protection under the ADAAA, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to the individual unless doing so would cause the employer to experience a significant difficulty or expense. 

Under state law, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodations so long as doing so would not create undue hardship to the business’s operations. Undue hardship is defined as imposing significant difficulty and/or expense based on the employer’s financial resources and size. While employers are required to make accommodations where possible, they are not required to lower their standards on quality or production in order to make the accommodation. 

National Origin- 
Discriminatory actions based on national origin occur when an employer exhibits unfavorable treatment to an individual based on the employee or applicant’s country of origin. Ethnicity, accent, and other characteristics fall under the category of national origin, so it is important for business owners to be aware that national origin is a protected class under federal law.

The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on national origin and/or ancestry. Specifically, it prohibits treating any individual less favorably due to ethnicity, accent, or even the belief that an individual has a certain ethnic background. While discrimination based on national origin or ancestry is strictly prohibited regardless of citizenship, individuals seeking relief despite being in the country illegally may be limited in their relief options.

Race / Skin Color- 
Race-related characteristics that can be considered discriminatory include treating someone unfavorably based on race, skin color, hair texture, and even certain facial features. It is also important to note that the race of an individual’s spouse or another associated person can form the basis of a discrimination claim.

Under the Missouri Human Rights Act, employers are forbidden from engaging in offensive conduct based on an individual’s race/color. This includes derogatory comments, racial or ethnic slurs, racial jokes, and other verbal and non-verbal conduct related to a person’s race or color. To prove discrimination or a hostile environment based on race/color, the conduct must be offensive, unwelcome, and severe or pervasive in nature. 

Religious discrimination occurs when an employer treats someone unfavorably due to the employee or applicant’s religious beliefs. At the federal level, protection extends to those who belong to traditional organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, as well as to those who have sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs. 

The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits employees from being forced to participate – or not participate – in any religious activity as a condition of employment. It also requires that employers make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religiously held practices, including forms of religious expression, so long as doing so does not impose undue hardship on the employer, i.e. out-of-the-ordinary administrative costs, compromised workplace safety, diminished job efficiency, infringement on other employees’ job rights and benefits, etc. Missouri employers are also expected to take the necessary steps to prevent religious discrimination and harassment at the workplace, including effective processes for reporting and investigating claims of discrimination. 

Note: While the Act applies to state and local employers with 6 employees or more, it does not apply to corporations and associations 100% owned by religious or sectarian groups. 

Sex & Sexual Orientation- 
Title VII protects employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity when/where state or local laws do not already prohibit such conduct. At the time of this writing, protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination have not been added to the Missouri Human Rights Act. 

*Click here to read more about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) work to end discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation

Information for Employers

Missouri employers are required to post notices advising employees of their rights under the Missouri Human Rights Act. Employers should take measure to ensure that these notices are accessible to all employees, including those with visual impairments or other disabilities that may impact their ability to read the notices. 

The Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations offers workplace training to protect human rights in the workplace. Click here to learn more and register your staff and supervisors for training on sexual harassment prevention and other discriminatory practices in the workplace. 

If you are currently facing an accusation of workplace discrimination, we’re here to help. Give our team a call at (816) 578-0077 to get started. We can also be reached online

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