Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Discrimination on the Basis of Alcohol and Tobacco Use
Churches are exempted from a Missouri ban on this type of discrimination.
Missouri

A new law recently took effect in Missouri which makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against an employee because the individual uses lawful alcohol or tobacco products off the premises during non-working hours. However, churches are specifically exempted from this provision. The law provides: "It shall be an improper employment practice for an employer to refuse to hire, or to discharge, any individual, or to otherwise disadvantage any individual, with respect to compensation, terms or conditions of employment because the individual uses lawful alcohol or tobacco products off the premises of the employer during hours such individual is not working for the employer, unless such use interferes with the duties and performance of the employee, his coworkers, or the overall operation of the employer's business. Religious organizations and church-operated institutions, and not for profit organizations whose principal business is health care promotion shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to create a cause of action for injunctive relief, damages or other relief." (S.B. 442, 509, 679; approved June 11, 1992, effective August 28, 1992.)

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