The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of physical or mental disability (MT Code Sec. 49-2-303, MT Code Sec. 49-4-101). The law applies to all employers in the state except nonprofit fraternal, religious, and charitable organizations. Unions and employment agencies are covered as employers. Employers may exclude an applicant with a disability from a position that may subject that individual or fellow employees to physical harm (MT Code Sec. 49-4-101).
Physical or mental disability is defined as any impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or a condition regarded as such an impairment MT Code Sec. 49-2-101(19). Determining whether a particular disease is considered a disability is decided on a case-by-case basis.
Like the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Montana law prevents an employer from making a decision regarding hiring, promotion, job duties, compensation, or any other condition of employment on the basis of knowledge or suspicion that an individual has a disability. Furthermore, employers must offer reasonable accommodations to allow protected individuals to continue working as long as they can perform the essential functions of their jobs.
Amendments to the ADA have broadened the definition of "disability" and expressly changed the ADA's definition of a "regarded as" disability. Under the amended ADA, a person is regarded as having an ADA disability if an employer takes an adverse action against the person because of an actual or perceived impairment. The impairment does not have to substantially limit a major life activity in order to meet the definition of a ...