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Friday, March 10, 2017

City of St. Louis Reproductive Health Decision Ordinance

On February 13, 2017, the attached City of St. Louis Ordinance 70459 became effective.  Among other things, it prohibits employers (with six or more employees) in the City of St. Louis from discriminating or taking any adverse employment action against any applicant or employee based on their pregnancy, condition related to pregnancy or the “reproductive health decisions” of that individual or that individual’s dependent(s).  A “reproductive health decision” is defined by the ordinance as “any decision related to the use or intended use of a particular drug, device, or medical service related to reproductive health” and includes contraceptives, fertility treatments and initiation or termination of a pregnancy.  This ordinance also prevents pre-employment inquiries based on these matters as well as any statements by employers regarding their preferences on these issues.

The City of St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency has authority to enforce the ordinance according to the terms and provisions of Ordinance 67119 (the general civil rights ordinance).

Though this ordinance does not apply to those employers that are not in the City of St. Louis, other state and federal law, including the Missouri Human Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, already prohibit discrimination based on sex, pregnancy, and conditions related to pregnancy.  Even the “reproductive health decisions” explicitly covered by Ordinance 70459 may be protected under existing law, as they are decisions directly tied to sex and/or pregnancy.  

The foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied on as such.  Please contact one of our labor and employment lawyers if you have any questions.  The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.

This update was prepared by Charles S. Elbert and Erin M. Leach.

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