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This newsletter highlights events and programs offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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2015 Minimum Wage Rate Set

2015 Minimum Wage Rate Set

The Missouri Department of Labor announced the state minimum wage rate for 2015 has been established, according to state law, at $7.65, effective January 1. All businesses are required to pay at minimum, the $7.65 hourly rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000. Per state law, the minimum wage rate is calculated once a year and may increase or decrease based on the cost of living as measured by the previous year’s Consumer Price Index. Missouri law does not allow the state’s minimum wage rate to be lower than the federal minimum wage rate.

Compensation for tipped employees must also total at least $7.65 per hour. Employers are required to pay tipped employees at least 50 percent of the minimum wage, or the amount necessary to bring the employee’s total compensation to a minimum of $7.65 per hour. A printable version of the updated poster is available for businesses on our Mandatory Posters page. To learn more about minimum wage, visit our Minimum Wage page.

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Recap - 3rd Annual Missouri Human Rights Conference

Recap - 3rd Annual Missouri Human  Rights Conference

The Missouri Commission on Human Rights hosted the 3rd Annual Missouri Human Rights Conference on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014, at the Harry S. Truman Office Building in Jefferson City. More than 140 participants attended the conference, which featured topics including:

  • 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education
  • 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • MCHR Complaint and Public Hearing Processes
  • Addressing Barriers to Equal Opportunity
  • Fair Housing

This year’s keynote address was delivered by Frederick Douglass, as portrayed by Chautauqua scholar Charles Everett Pace.

The following awards were given:

  • Local Human Rights Commission of the Year: St. Charles Human Relations Commission
  • Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award: Senator Jolie L. Justus
  • Lucile Bluford Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Rex Campbell

You can view a recap of this year’s Missouri Human Rights Conference here. Be sure to save the date for the 4th Annual Missouri Human Rights Conference on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in St. Louis.

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MCHR Diversity Spotlight – Religious Freedom

MCHR Diversity Spotlight – Religious Freedom

Thanks to the freedoms we enjoy in our state, Missourians are able to participate in a diverse array of religious celebrations and observances throughout the year. Alban Arthan, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, and Bodhi Day are just a few of the holidays observed in the month of December. This month also marks the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations and the celebration of International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. The theme for 2014 is Human Rights 365, emphasizing that every day is Human Rights Day.
Human Rights Day is observed throughout the world in various ways, including educational programs and cultural events with dancing, music, drama, and art. The Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) is hosting the 3rd Annual Missouri Human Rights Conference celebration on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harry S Truman State Office Building, 301 West High Street, Jefferson City.
In Missouri, we enjoy protection from religious discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodations through enforcement of the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA).

Under the MHRA, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate based on a person's religious beliefs or practice when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay levels, promotions, job assignments, layoffs, or any other terms or conditions of employment. The MHRA also requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ religious beliefs. For example, an employer may be required to allow an employee to change shifts so he or she may observe a religious holiday or make exceptions to its dress code policy to allow employees to wear religious garments. The MHRA also prohibits harassing a person because of his or her religion or religious beliefs. The MHRA makes it illegal for housing providers to refuse to rent, deny that an open unit is available, or offer different rental terms and conditions because of one’s religious beliefs. In addition, the Act prohibits property advertisements from attempting to induce people from certain religions to move into the area. Providers of public accommodations (stores, gas stations, banks, etc.) are also prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of their religious beliefs. It is illegal for providers of public accommodations to deny or offer inferior service to anyone because of his or her religious beliefs. For example, it would be illegal for a store to ask a customer to leave the establishment only because he or she is wearing religious dress. Persons who believe they have been treated differently because of their religious beliefs can take this online assessment to determine if it may be considered discrimination warranting the filing of a complaint with the MCHR.

Here are a few additional ways to celebrate our cultural and religious freedoms during the month of December:

Western Missouri
  • As you drink hot cocoa around a campfire, listen to the stories of American soldiers at Christmas during the Civil War as part of the Civil War Christmas Lantern Tour at Smallin Civil War Cave, 3575 North Smallin Road, Ozark. You will also be treated to a lantern-light tour of the cave. This event will be held on Dec. 20 and 27 at 7 p.m. For more information, call 417-551-4545 or e-mail smallincave@centurylink.net.
  • Join the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City for their Bagel Bash on Dec. 24 starting at 8 p.m. at Westport Ale House, 4128 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Described as a homecoming for many, a reunion of friends, and a celebration in its own right, the hosts encourage you to come for the Vaad-supervised food, open bar, and dancing with a live DJ. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 913-327-8100.

Eastern Missouri

  • The Historic Daniel Boone Home & Heritage Center, 1868 Highway F, Defiance, presents Christmas Candlelight Tours on Dec. 5, 6, 12, and 13, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. The theme for this year’s event is Lighting the Path to History, and there will be thousands of candles creating a soft glow illuminating the path into 1820, where residents on the Missouri Frontier prepared for the holiday season. Enjoy wassail, cookies, and more. Call 636-798-2005 to reserve tickets early or for more information.
  • Enjoy the Capitol by Candlelight on Dec. 12, or catch a concert the following evening, both at the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site in St. Charles, located at 200 South Main St. Call 636-940-3322 for details.
  • On Sundays in December, from noon to 4 p.m., enjoy family programming at the St. Louis Art Museum, One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis. Family Sundays: Winter Celebration includes multicultural winter festivities featuring art activities, performances, scavenger hunts, and special treats from around the world. Don’t miss the annual Kwanzaa event on Dec. 28. For more information, call 314-721-0072.
  • Garden Glow, a holiday light extravaganza at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, is open now through Jan. 3. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday evenings from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Nov. 22 to Dec. 18, and nightly Dec. 19 through Jan. 3. Garden Glow is closed Dec. 24, 25, and 31. For more information, call 314-577-5100. 
  • Gardenland Express, a holiday flower and train show, delights visitors of all ages each year with G-scale trains traveling through a miniature holiday landscape made up of festive decorations and thousands of fresh plants, accented by beautiful poinsettias and flowers. Enjoy the show at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, now through Jan. 4, daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 314-577-5100.
  • Now through Jan. 4, you can enjoy a Victorian Christmas at Tower Grove House, open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See the country home of Missouri Botanical Garden founder Henry Shaw decked for the holidays in true Victorian style at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis. Enjoy storytelling on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. Don’t miss the special activities for children. The Tower Grove House is closed Dec. 25. For more information, call 314-577-5100.
  • The contemporary African-American holiday of Kwanzaa will be celebrated on Dec. 29, noon to 3 p.m., with a Festival of the First Fruits at the Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis. This event honors African traditions and history with symbolic candle-lighting ceremonies, accompanied by storytellers wearing traditional costumes and playing authentic African drums. For more information, call 314-577-5100.

Central Missouri

  • Experience Deutschheim Weihnachtfest, a 19th century German Christmas celebration at the Deutschheim State Historic Site, 109 West 2nd St., Hermann, the first two weekends in December from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pommer-Gentner House will be decorated with greenery and lit by lamplight; its historic rooms featuring Christmas trees decorated with authentic German ornaments. Sample traditional German Christmas cookies, including springerle, Lebkuchen, and zimmerschied. Learn how the Christmas customs of the German immigrants became American traditions celebrated yet today. A special Weihnachtsfest gift shop will have springerle molds and rolling pins, recipe books, imported German pop-up cards, and a selection of unique books for your Christmas gift giving. For more information, 573-486-2200.

Statewide

  • Visit the virtual Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights to read about the first World Conference on Human Rights, held in 1993 in Vienna, Austria, 20 important Human Rights Achievements over the past 20 years, and other related information.
  • Discover the celebration of the Winter Solstice Festival, also known as Dong Zhi. Today, people mark the occasion in northern China by eating Chinese dumplings, while the southern part of the country puts on a much bigger celebration, second only to Chinese New Year for many families.
  • The U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom provides information about their mission of promoting religious freedom as a core objective of U.S. foreign policy. Learn how they monitor religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommend and implement policies in respective regions or countries, and develop programs to promote religious freedom internationally.

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