The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of national origin, including ancestry (MT Code Sec. 49-2-101 et seq.). The law applies to all employers in the state regardless of size. Under the state law, it is unlawful to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to an individual's compensation or terms of employment
• Retaliate against an individual who exercises his or her rights under the law or an individual assisting in the investigation or enforcement of the state law
• Publish an advertisement for employment specifying a limitation or discrimination as to national origin, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. It is permissible to hire an individual on the basis of national origin based on a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain national origin). The BFOQ exception is strictly construed, however, and employers should be very cautious in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that may have a disproportionate impact on persons of a particular group.