In his message, the governor also said the bill could have caused employers to unintentionally violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
S.B. 34 would have required the state's Division of Workers' Compensation to create a state workers' comp claims database that would be accessible to potential employers during a pre-hire period and searchable by an employee's name and Social Security number. The idea, according to its sponsor, was to modernize Missouri's workers' comp system and make the hiring process faster.
As Sen. Mike Cunningham explained, "if a potential employer wants a job applicant's workers' comp claims from the division, it takes a couple weeks because a written request is needed, and it currently takes about three people to accomplish this task." He said the bill included clear penalties for people who try to abuse the law and that privacy concerns were covered under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws.
But in his veto message, Gov. Nixon called it "misguided legislation" that would "unnecessarily invade Missourians' privacy with no valid purpose." The governor went on to say the measure could violate the ADA.
"Federal regulations applicable to the ADA do allow an employer to inquire into an individual's workers' comp history, but only when a conditional job offer has already been extended," Nixon wrote. "Senate Bill No. 34 contains no commensurate protection. This legislation's conflict with federal law misleads Missouri employers into believing that a 'pre-hire' database search would be authorized where no conditional offer has been made."
The bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 32-0 and the House by 91-67.
By Nancy Grover
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 12, 2013
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