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Missouri governor nixes bill creating workers comp claimant database


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have created an online database that employers could scour to learn whether a prospective job applicant has ever filed a workers compensation claim.

“Such a database would unnecessarily invade Missourians' privacy, with no valid purpose,” the governor, a Democrat, said in a veto message concerning S.B. 34, sponsored by Sen. Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville.

The bill would have required the Missouri Division of Workers' Compensation to compile the online database of all Missourians who have filed a workers comp claim and provide employers with access.

But it would have jettisoned current employee privacy protections, the governor said. For instance, employers seeking such claims information are now required to certify that their data request is being made only after a conditional job offer has been extended.

Employers also must certify that the information will not be used to discriminate in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a statement issued in February, Sen. Cunningham said his legislation would help workers and employers.

“Currently, if a potential employer wants a job applicant's workers compensation claims from the division, it takes a couple weeks, as a written request is needed,” the statement said. “This often takes a long time and isn't fair to the person applying for the job, as I'm sure he or she would like to get hired as soon as possible, nor is it convenient for the potential employer. We need make this system less cumbersome and allow more Missourians to get into work as soon as possible.”