Montana Religious Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Montana Religious Discrimination: What you need to know

The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of religion (MT Code Sec. 49-2-101et seq.). Regulations issued by the Montana Human Rights Commission define "religion" to include all aspects of religious observance, practice, and belief. Under the regulations, discrimination based on an individual's association with a person of a particular religion is prohibited (e.g., harassment based on an employee's marriage to a Muslim).
The law applies to all public and private employers in the state, regardless of the size of the employer. The law does not apply to nonprofit fraternal, charitable, or religious associations or corporations.
Under the state law, it is unlawful for an employer to:
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• Refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate with respect to terms and conditions of employment because of religion.
• Retaliate against an individual who opposes any practices prohibited by the Act or who files a complaint, testifies, assists or otherwise participates in an investigation or proceeding under the Act.
• Publish an advertisement for employment specifying a limitation or discrimination as to religion, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification.
• Aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce an individual to violate the Act, or to attempt to do so.
The Act does not apply to an employer that operates as a nonprofit fraternal, charitable, or religious association or corporation.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a faith-based nonprofit organization can be a religious organization exempt from federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if it can establish that it is organized for a religious purpose, is engaged primarily in carrying ...

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