The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits employers from making inquiries of prospective employees that state or imply any limitation or discrimination based on race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, or sex (including maternity and pregnancy), unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (MT Code Sec. 49-2-101et seq.). The law applies to all employers in the state.
BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about a protected characteristic only if it is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be absolutely essential to the applicant's ability to perform the job. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances and, in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds. Employers should use caution in relying on the BFOQ rationale and should always consult with legal counsel before making any inquiries on the basis of a BFOQ.