Discrimination Lawsuit Raises Concerns Since Company Is Owned By State Senator

By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

A great deal has been said about a Bill that will raise the standards required by law to prove or prevail in discrimination suits filed in the state of Missouri under Senate Bill 43. Ironically, thr author of the Bill is fight a discrimination suit that has been filed against him.

According to court records, Tracy Ranson has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Show-Me Rent-To-Own, Inc., of Farmington, Mo., which is owned by State Senator Gary Romine. Romine is one of the authors of Senate Bill 43 which has passed the Senate and is one vote away from passing the Missouri House of Representatives, according to Rep. DaRon McGee.

“Legislation pending in the Missouri House of Representatives is just one vote away from rolling back Civil Rights protections in our state by more than 50 years. That single vote would hit the reset button on decades of progress in combating racial and sex discrimination in Missouri,” he said.

“The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodation based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, disability or familial status. Senate Bill 43 would impose so many new hurdles to suing employers for discrimination under the Missouri Human Rights Act as to essentially lock the courthouse doors to victims and protect wrongdoing from being held accountable for their unlawful actions,” Rep. McGee said.

“Senate Bill 43 is legislation that is explicitly designed to make workplace discrimination lawsuits more difficult to bring forward. Legislation that would make it more difficult to redeem one’s rights for improper treatment based upon an intrinsic characteristic— those characteristics which are the reflection of each individual. The public policy implication of this bill makes it harder prove discrimination and raises the burden of proof for the victim,” he stated.

Ranson, a black former account manager at the company’s Sikeston store, sued in 2015 and he was fired for pre-textual reasons after complaining about a white supervisor’s use of racial slurs and the store’s policy refusing to rent to residents of the city’ predominantly black neighborhood.

According to court documents, there was a map which had areas blacked out that employees were advised to not rent to customers in that area. the area in question is the predominantly African American part of town.

In addition, and most disturbing, is some of the language that Ranson overheard coming from her immediate supervisor, Brian Barnes.
The racially discriminatory statements that were offensive to the Plaintiff were:
• “quit acting like a nigger”
• “What’s up my nigger”
• “nigger’
• “black ass”
• “Black people are the
worst to work with”
• “Black people are the
worst to rent to”
• “As long as I (Brian Barnes) am manager, there will never be two black guys working together”

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