Oh, Missouri. Just as the rest of the country is finally being shamed into enforcing post-cave dwelling directives against sexual harassment in the workplace, lawmakers in our state have decided to take us in the opposite direction.
The timing is striking, but the substance is worse: Just a season ahead of accusations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein misused women for decades, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed legislation that makes harassment easier to get away with here.
As of Aug. 28 of this year, Missourians can no longer sue someone who harasses them on the job, but can only sue the company. Which makes offenders who go from one job to the next significantly harder to track, and harder for potential employers to avoid.
So, just as various dams of misdeeds past are being blown up across the land, Missouri is instead shoring up protections for creeps in the next cubicle. Supporters claim that this will make Missouri more attractive as a place to do business.
But as what, a convention site for pro-grope groups? (Yes, those do exist.)
The bill also minimizes the liability for employers, and even if that does attract some business, isn’t the sort of incentive we ought to be offering.
And while some partisans conveniently continue to find only those accusations against those on the other team credible, we salute those who not only know better but have the integrity to say so.
That honor roll includes Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, who said he didn’t vote for Roy Moore in Tuesday’s special Senate election because of allegations that Moore preyed on teenagers as young as 14 while in his 30s. “I do believe the Republicans can do better,” Shelby said. It includes Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, who said the Senate should expel Moore on moral grounds if he’s elected.
It includes the Democratic female senators, among them Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, who led the effort to oust Sen. Al Franken, despite considerable pushback from Democrats who seemed to want them to repeat the mistake of seeing Bill Clinton’s alleged predations through a strictly partisan lens.
And it includes our ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who said that yes, the women who’ve accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct should be given a serious hearing, too. She’s right, of course. Given that he’s her boss, that’s especially commendable.
It’s hardly surprising that the scandal is at the White House gate; Trump has been accused by 19 women of doing exactly what he described doing in that “Access Hollywood” audio — grabbing, groping, kissing out of nowhere and putting his hands up the skirts of women, sometimes by way of an initial greeting. He’s said he never did any of these things.
A recent Quinnipiac poll that found 70 percent of those surveyed want Congress to investigate their allegations against the president. If that’s really the consensus view, it will happen, and if it isn’t, it won’t. Only public opinion will give public servants less brave than those listed here the courage to investigate their own, and to look for truths they might not like.