Sex: Discrimination & Harassment

The Missouri Human Rights Act (the Act) protects individuals against discrimination on the basis of their sex. The Act applies to employers with six or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies, “temp services”, and to labor organizations. The Act applies to landlords, housing providers, property managers, those selling houses, realtors and those providing loans for dwellings. The Act also covers all businesses that offer their goods and services to the general public including state and local governments, and therefore, those entities cannot refuse, withhold from or deny accommodations, advantages, facilities, and/or privileges to any person based on their sex.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her sex in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. It is unlawful for housing providers, property managers or lenders to discriminate against any tenant, applicant for housing or applicant for a housing loan because of his/her sex in regard to the sale or rental of a dwelling, application for a housing loan, eviction, or any term or condition of tenancy. The Act's prohibitions against sex-based discrimination also cover:

Pregnancy-based Discrimination

This includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.

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Compensation Discrimination

This includes all payments made to or on behalf of employees as compensation for employment. All forms of compensation are covered, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits.

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Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination based on sexually explicit behavior. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual's employment ("If you want to continue working here... ");
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis of employment decisions affecting such individual ("If you want that promotion..."); or
  3. Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. This is where the sexual conduct is so pervasive or severe that it creates an abusive working environment.

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Gender Based Harassment

Another type of sexual harassment is called gender-based harassment. It does not involve explicit sexual behavior. This type of harassment includes epithets, slurs, and negative stereotyping of men or women, directed at a female or male employee. It may include denigrating or hostile written material about men or women posted or circulated in the workplace. Harassment due to gender is comparable to harassment due to race. If it is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive working environment, then it can violate the law.

If you believe that you’ve been discriminated against based on your sex or sexually harassed, you file a complaint of discrimination.

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