The Basics of Montana's Anti-Discrimination Law

Even though you're not a lawyer, you probably already know that it's against state law to refuse to hire someone based on race. However, the anti-discrimination statutes managed by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry cover more ground than that. The following are some of the highlights.

Not Just about Race

Discrimination against any protected class is illegal. In the state, such classes are based on a person's n race such as Native American, national origin such as Filipino, religion such as Baptist, age as in being a senior citizen, disability as in in a wheelchair, marital status such as being divorced, gender as in women, or political affiliation as in Republican. Actions based on retaliation are also prohibited. An employer cannot terminate employees just because they called government attention to illegal work practices.

What's Involved

The Montana Human Rights Act applies to any enterprise that hires one or more employees whether it's a one-person business getting part-time help or a large corporation looking for dozens of full-time professionals. Discrimination can apply to questions about an applicant's religion, medical condition, family responsibilities, age or rice. Application and interview questions must relate solely to training, experience, and skills., and they must apply equally to all employees. For example, an employee cannot hire women based on physical appearance and men based on education.

Employer Responsibility

Ignorance is no excuse. It's up to the employer to know state policies on discrimination and develop practices to avoid it. He or she must also create procedures for addressing any claims of discrimination, such as by referring certain types of suspected discrimination to the Human Rights Bureau.

If you have any questions about state law regarding equal treatment or suspect you're a victim of discrimination, please contact us. We will defend your rights.