Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Missouri Legislature Restores Employment Discrimination Exemption For Religious Hospitals and Colleges

The Missouri legislature on Monday gave final passage to SB 43 (full text) which, among other things, restores the exemption for religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges from the state's employment discrimination law.  The existing version of the state's employment discrimination law excludes from the definition of "employer" any corporation or association "owned and operated by religious or sectarian groups." In a 2013 decision the Missouri Supreme Court in Farrow v. St. Francis Medical Center held that a Catholic hospital did not qualify for the exclusion because, while it may have been operated by a religious organization, it was not "owned" by a religious group. The statute just passed by the legislature (Sec. 213.010(8)) now provides an exclusion for "corporations and associations owned or operated by religious or sectarian organizations." The Pathway reporting on the bill says that Gov. Eric Greitens is expected to sign the bill in the near future.