On February 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of Missouri overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against a school district by a transgender student who alleged the school district violated the Missouri Human Rights Act by unlawfully discriminating against him in the use of a public accommodation on the basis of his sex.
Courts have ruled that sweeping and overbroad employer-initiated disqualification policies must be struck absent business justification. But where is the line on what constitutes an overbroad and impermissible policy when applicant and employee disqualification is mandated by federal law?
In 2013, the American Medical Association adopted a policy against sedentary behavior and encouraged employers to offer their employees fitness balls and standing workstations in order to promote a healthier work environment. Many employers across the country embraced this trend and allowed employees to alter their workstations by using standing or sit-stand desks. According to a 2017 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management, standing desks are the fastest-growing benefits trend.
Even something as simple as a statement that an employee has changed his or her medications can be treated as notice from an employee that an accommodation might be needed.
While nearly half of all states expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, Missouri is not one of those states. However, the Missouri Court of Appeals recently issued a decision in favor of a gay employee who filed a lawsuit alleging sex discrimination based on sex stereotyping.
In contrast to Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, in Kowitz v. Trinity Health, et al, No. 15-1584 (October 17, 2016), a split panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for an employer on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim, finding a factual dispute about whether the employer knew the employee needed an accommodation despite the absence of a formal request for accommodation.
In Parker v. Crete Carrier Corporation, et al, No. 16-1371 (October 12, 2016), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a trucking company complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in requiring its drivers with body mass indexes (BMI) of 35 or above to undergo in-lab sleep studies to determine if they had sleep apnea, which could cause them to fall asleep at the wheel.
Missouri courts have issued several decisions interpreting arbitration agreements between employers and employees. While some of these agreements have been enforced, others have been struck down. The Missouri Court of Appeals invalidated two employment arbitration agreements in January and July, allowing both employees to pursue their discrimination claims in court. But, in the interim, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld an arbitration agreement, compelling an employee to arbitrate his age discrimination lawsuit.