Court rules current Missouri law does not contain LGBT employment protections

By : Wire Report
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP)– A Missouri appeals court has ruled that a man who claims he was fired because he’s gay can’t sue his former employer for discrimination.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Oct. 27’s 2-1 decision by the Western District Missouri Court of Appeals says the state law barring discrimination based on sex only covers gender-based actions.

“If the Missouri legislature had desired to include sexual orientation in the Missouri Human Rights Act’s protections, it could have done so,” Chief Judge James Welch wrote in the majority opinion. “No matter how compelling Pittman’s argument may be and no matter how sympathetic this court or the trial court may be to Pittman’s situation, we are bound by the state of the law as it currently exists.”

Missouri law bars employment discrimination based on age, ancestry, color, disability, national origin, race, religion or sex.

James Pittman’s lawsuit in Jackson County against Cook Paper Recycling Corp. accused the company’s president of harassment. Cook Paper fired Pittman in 2011. The lawsuit was dismissed in February 2013, and Pittman appealed that decision.

Pittman’s attorney Lynne Bratcher said she will try to get the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case. She said the split decision from the appeals court could make it more likely the Supreme Court will hear the case.

Patricia Konopka of Stinson Leonard Street, who represented Cook Paper, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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