The Missouri Human Rights Act (the Act) prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. It also prohibits landlords and housing providers from discriminating against individuals due to their religion in the rental or sale of housing or the terms, conditions or privileges of tenancy. The Act prohibits lenders from discriminating against individuals due to their religion by providing less favorable terms for loans for housing. The Act applies to employers with six or more employees, including state and local governments, but does not include corporations and associations 100 percent owned and operated by religious or sectarian groups that require all its employees to be a member of the religion or sect. The Act applies to employment agencies, “temp services”, and labor organizations. It also applies to landlords, housing providers, property managers, those selling houses, realtors, and those providing loans for dwellings. The Act covers all businesses that offer their goods and services to the general public including local and state governments, and therefore, such entities cannot refuse, withhold from or deny accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges to any person based on their religion.
Under The Act:
- Employers, housing providers, and businesses may not treat employees, applicants, tenants or customers more or less favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices. For example, an employer may not refuse to hire individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee because of that employee's religious beliefs or practices.
- Employees cannot be forced to participate -- or not participate -- in a religious activity as a condition of employment.
- Employers must reasonably accommodate employees’ sincerely held religious practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow the employee to practice his religion. An employer might accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices by allowing flexible scheduling, voluntary substitutions or swaps of shifts, job reassignments, lateral transfers, modification of grooming requirements, and other workplace practices, policies, and/or procedures.
- An employer is not required to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs and practices if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s legitimate business interests. An employer can show undue hardship if accommodating an employee's religious practices requires more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees’ job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee's share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.
- Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency.
- Employers must take steps to prevent religious harassment and discrimination of their employees. An employer can reduce the chance that employees will engage unlawful religious harassment and discrimination by implementing an anti-harassment policy and having an effective procedure for reporting, investigating, and correcting harassing and discriminatory conduct.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you can file a complaint of discrimination.