Read 1st time January 18, 2000, and 1000 copies ordered printed.

ANNE C. WALKER, Chief Clerk



To amend chapter 290, RSMo, relating to wages, hours and dismissal rights, by adding thereto five new sections relating to discriminatory wage practices, with penalty provisions.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:

Section A. Chapter 290, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto five new sections, to be known as sections 290.610, 290.612, 290.614, 290.616 and 290.618, to read as follows:

290.610. 1. Sections 290.610 to 290.618 may be cited as "The Missouri Equal Pay Act".

2. For purposes of sections 290.610 to 290.618, the following terms mean:

(1) "Employ", to suffer or permit to work;

(2) "Employee", any person employed by an employer, including all of an employer's employees, whether working full-time or part-time and any temporary employee employed by an employer for a period of three months or more. Employee shall not include any individual employed by his or her parents, spouse or child;

(3) "Employer", any person who employs six or more persons, including the state and all political subdivisions of the state;

(4) "Labor organization", any organization that exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of collective bargaining, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, terms or conditions of employment or of other mutual aid or protection in connection with employment;

(5) "Market rates", the rates that employers within a prescribed geographic area actually pay or are reported to pay for specific jobs, as determined by formal or informal surveys, wage studies or other means;

(6) "Person", one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, limited liability companies, legal representatives, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, receivers and the state, including all political subdivisions and agencies of the state;

(7) "Wages" and "wage rates", all compensation in any form that an employer provides to employees in payment for work done or services rendered, including but not limited to base pay, overtime bonuses, commissions, stock options, awards, tips or various forms of nonmonetary compensation if provided in lieu of or in addition to monetary compensation, provided that such compensation has economic value to an employee.

290.612. 1. It shall be an unlawful employment practice in violation of sections 290.610 to 290.618 for an employer to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex, race or national origin by paying wages to employees at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex or of a different race or national origin for work in substantially equivalent jobs, the performance of which requires substantially equivalent skill, effort and responsibility.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 1 of this section, it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to pay different wage rates to employees, where such payments are made pursuant to:

(1) A bona fide seniority or merit system;

(2) A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or

(3) Any bona fide factor other than sex, race or national origin, provided that wage differentials based on varying market rates for substantially equivalent jobs shall not be considered differentials based on bona fide factors other than sex, race or national origin.

3. An employer who is paying wages in violation of this section shall not, in order to comply with this section, reduce the wage of any employee.

4. No labor organization or its agents representing employees of an employer having employees subject to any provision of sections 290.610 to 290.618 shall cause or attempt to cause such an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of subsection 1 of this section.

290.614. It shall be an unlawful employment practice in violation of sections 290.610 to 290.618 for an employer to:

(1) Take adverse actions or otherwise discriminate against any individual because such individual has:

(a) Opposed any act or practice made unlawful by sections 290.610 to 290.618; or

(b) Testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, hearing or other proceeding to enforce sections 290.610 to 290.618; or

(2) Discharge or in any other manner discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with any employee or any other person because the employee:

(a) Inquired about, disclosed, compared or otherwise discussed the employee's wages or the wages of any other employee; or

(b) Exercised, enjoyed, aided or encouraged any other person to exercise or enjoy any right granted or protected by sections 290.610 to 290.618.

290.616. 1. Upon commencement of an individual's employment and at least annually after such individual's employment, every employer subject to sections 290.610 to 190.618 shall provide to each employee a written statement and access to his or her employment file sufficient to inform the employee of his or her job title, wage rate and the basis on which such wage is calculated. Such statement shall be supplemented whenever an employee is promoted or reassigned to a different position with the employer, provided that the employer shall not be required to issue supplemental notifications for temporary reassignments that are no greater than three months in duration.

2. Every employer subject to sections 290.610 to 290.618 shall make and preserve records that document the wages paid to employees, and shall preserve such records for a period of two years.

290.618. 1. In any action in which a court or jury finds that an employer has engaged in acts which violate any portion of sections 290.610 to 290.618, such court or jury shall:

(1) Award to any affected employee or employees monetary relief, including back wages in any amount equal to the difference between such employee's actual earnings and what such employee would have earned but for the employer's unlawful practices, and an additional amount in compensatory or punitive damages, as appropriate;

(2) Enjoin such employer from continuing to discriminate against affected employees, and shall direct such employer to comply with the provisions of sections 290.610 to 290.618, and may order the employer to take such additional steps as are necessary, including reinstatement or reclassification of affected workers to ensure an end to unlawful discrimination; and

(3) In addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiffs, allow a reasonable amount of attorney's fees and other costs of the action to be paid by the employer.

2. An action to recover the damages or other relief prescribed in subsection 1 of this section may be maintained against any employer in any court of competent jurisdiction by any one or more employees, such employees' representatives for or on behalf of such employees or the employees and other employees similarly situated. Any party to such action may demand a trial by jury.

3. An action brought pursuant to sections 290.610 to 290.618 shall be brought within two years after the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for which such action is brought. An employer's liability for back wages pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section shall extend only to the two years immediately prior to the date that any such action is brought.

Missouri House of Representatives