Workers Compensation Bill on the Table
Right now there is legislation moving through the Missouri General Assembly which would require the state to create and maintain a workers compensation database. Senate Bill 526 was recently passed by the state Senate and has been moved to the state House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 526 is very similar to Senate Bill 34, which passed the General Assembly but was then vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon last July. If signed into law this time, the bill would require the Missouri Division of Workers Compensation to create and maintain a database of all workers compensation claims which would be searchable by employers during a pre-hire period for workers. Employers could search the database by name and social security number to see if a worker has filed a workers compensation claim in the past.
Before searching the database, however, the employer would be required to obtain written consent to access the workers compensation database and is prohibited from compelling or coercing a potential employee to give consent or making consent a term of employment. If the bill is signed into law, the workers compensation database would need to be implemented by July 1, 2015.
The reason for the veto of the previous workers compensation database bill was concern over workers’ privacy. Not only would a workers compensation claim database allow quicker access to records, but some fear that such access would make it easier for employers to discriminate potential employees.
Such discrimination, however, would be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. While the old bill required that employers certify that they would not use information obtained from the workers compensation database to discriminate, the new bill also stipulates that accessing the database without written permission from the potential employee would be a class A misdemeanor.
Have you been affected by a workers compensation injury?
Contact the St. Louis workers compensation attorneys at Kullmann, Klein & Dioneda P.C. today if you have questions about workers compensation laws or if you need to file a claim. After a free consultation, our experienced attorneys will determine the best course of action for you and your unique case.