Employment, Housing, and Public Accommodations Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Missouri
By Christy Mallory, Sarah Liebowitz, Amira Hasenbush
The 160,000 LGBT adults in Missouri would benefit from an expanded state non-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. There is currently no Missouri law protecting LGBT people from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. A uniform state-wide law would maximize protection for Missouri’s LGBT population, and provide them the same recourse available to their non-LGBT counterparts.
Media reports and lawsuits document that a number of Missourians have faced discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and the workplace because they are LGBT. Complaints have been filed against hotels, landlords and retail stores; and teachers, law enforcement, truck drivers, and attorneys have filed workplace discrimination complaints. Eighteen Missouri localities currently provide protection from sexual orientation discrimination by local ordinance, sixteen of which also provide protection against gender identity discrimination, but the ordinances are inconsistent, and less effective than a state-wide law would be. In many cases, the local ordinances do not fully cover public and private employment, housing, public accommodations, and government services, and Missouri state law provides stronger remedies, and a private right of action that many of the local ordinances do not provide.