The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sex (MO Rev. Stat. Sec. 213.055 et seq.). Under regulations issued by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR), sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under the Act (8 MO Admin. Code Sec. 60-3.040). The law covers all state employers and private employers with six or more employees.
State regulations define “sexual harassment” as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature, when:
• Submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of employment.
• Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis of an employment decision affecting an individual.
• The conduct substantially interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment environment.
Guidelines issued by the MCHR also discuss gender-based harassment. According to the guidelines, such harassment does not involve explicit sexual behavior, but may include epithets, slurs, and negative stereotyping of men or women, directed at a female or male employee. It may also include denigrating or hostile written material about the employee posted or circulated in the workplace. Gender-based harassment that is severe or pervasive enough to create an abusive working environment violates the Act.
The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the language of the MHRA defines discrimination more broadly than the language of federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Under the ...