Where an employee brought a claim of retaliatory discharge arguing that he was fired after he sought workers’ compensation benefits, judgment for the employer is reversed and remanded because employees must only show that filing a work comp claim was a “contributing factor” to the discrimination or discharge, and cases applying the “exclusive cause” causation standard are overruled.
Dissenting opinon by Fischer, J.: “I respectfully dissent from the majority’s overruling of Hansome v. Nw. Cooperage Co., 679 S.W.2d 273 (Mo. banc 1984), and Crabtree v. Bugby, 967 S.W.2d 66 (Mo. banc 1998). The Court is not free to decide this case, which is merely a matter of statutory construction, as though presented with the issue of causation as a matter of first impression.
“What makes this country’s legal system the envy of the modern democratic world, and what sets it apart from most others, is the reliability of the outcome of cases based on the doctrine of stare decisis. The principal opinion gives short shrift to the doctrine of stare decisis, and it fails to recognize that adherence to precedent is most important when that precedent concerns settled questions of statutory interpretation.”
Judgment is reversed and remanded.
Templemire v. W&M Welding (MLW No. 66284/Case No. SC93132 – 36 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Draper III, J.; Russell, C.J., Breckenridge, Stith and Teitelman, JJ., concur; Fischer, J., dissents in separate opinion filed; Wilson, J., concurs in opinion of Fischer, J.) Appealed from circuit court, Pettis County, Koffman, J. (Bryan T. White and Gene P. Graham Jr., Independence, for appellant) (James T. Buckley, Sedalia, for respondent).