Montana Sexual Harassment laws & HR compliance analysis

Montana Sexual Harassment: What you need to know

The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment because of sex, including sexual harassment (MT Code Sec. 49-2-303). The law applies to all employers in the state regardless of size. It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual who has opposed any unlawful practices (MT Code Sec. 49-2-301).
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Quid pro quo harassment standard. The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that claims of quid pro quo harassment brought under state law are assessed using the test developed under federal law (Williams v. Joe Lowther Ins. Agency, Inc., 341 Mont. 394 (2008)). In this case, the employee's supervisor fired the employee after she refused to resume a previously consensual sexual relationship. Under federal law, a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim applies to situations in which tangible job benefits are conditioned on acquiescence to requests for sexual favors or other conduct of a sexual nature. Before this case, the court had not defined the elements for quid pro quo harassment under state law. In ruling that the federal test applied, the court noted that the Montana Human Rights Act is closely modeled after federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and that the courts in Montana frequently refer to federal case law in interpreting state law.
State law does not require training regarding an employer's policy on sexual harassment. However, training supervisors and employees regarding the employer's policy is strongly recommended. Training enables supervisors to properly address sexual harassment complaints, educates the workforce on issues of sexual harassment and the prevention of potentially harassing situations, establishes the employer's policies, ...

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