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Missouri Civil Rights Laws

Civil Rights and Employment Law: Overview

The term "civil rights" refers to the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment under the law. Civil rights are protected mostly at the federal level, where these rights are encoded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While civil rights have a broad focus, they often come into play in employment settings. For example, refusing to hire someone because of their skin color violates both federal and state civil rights laws.

While anti-discrimination laws technically fall under the civil rights category, employment law attorneys typically handle these types of claims when they involve the workplace.

Missouri Civil Rights Laws at a Glance

Missouri titles its civil rights code section "Human Rights," which covers matters relating to housing and employment. As with federal civil rights law, Missouri law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age (40+), or disability.

According to Missouri statute, it is discriminatory to use any of these protected characteristics as a basis for hiring (or firing), compensation, promotions, benefits, or any other employment conditions. The law also prohibits retaliation against an employee who has spoken out about (or reported) violations of Missouri's human rights code.

How to File a Claim for a Missouri Civil Rights Violation

If you believe your civil rights have been violated in an employment setting, Missouri law requires you to file a formal complaint with the Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations within 180 days of the alleged incident. The agency provides a handy flowchart showing the process once a complaint is filed.

Some additional details of Missouri's civil rights laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Civil Rights section to learn more.

Code Section Ch. 213.010, et seq. (Generally); Ch. 408.550 (Credit)
Agency Generally: Commission on Human Rights; Credit: None
Administrative Preemption Generally: Yes; Credit: No
Private Action Permitted? Generally: Yes; Credit: Yes
Attorney Fees Recoverable by Plaintiff? Yes
Statute of Limitations Generally: 180 days with commission; 2 yrs. civil action; Credit: Not specified.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri civil rights attorney or employment law attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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