Department of Labor and Industry

ERD

ERD Main Category

Welcome to the Employment Relations Division

Latest News & Forms

2014 Nonconstruction Services Survey 2014 Construction Services Survey

The Division provides a wide variety of service and regulation related to the employer – employee relationship. This includes issues involving workers' compensation coverage and claims, human rights claims, workplace safety and health, wage and hour claims, prevailing wage claims, and public sector collective bargaining.

We provide education and technical assistance to employers in understanding and complying with state labor laws. The Division works with both employers and employees to resolve disputes that do arise in the employment relationship through informal investigations and mediation. It is our goal to help resolve disputes at the lowest level possible in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner.

The staff of the Employment Relations Division is committed to providing customer service that is professional, courteous and respectful. We believe that each staff member is accountable and responsible for his or her own performance and committed to continual growth and improvement in the way we deliver our services to you. We invite your feedback and comments on how we are doing.

Diana Ferriter
Administrator
Employment Relations Division

Employment Relations Division
P.O. Box 8011
Helena, MT 59604
(406) 444-6543

The mission of the Employment Relations Division is to uphold public policy as it relates to the employment relationship and illegal discrimination.

Vision Statement

Employment Relations Division Staff:

  • Work together to maintain a relationship of open communication, mutual appreciation and respect
  • Provide the highest level of customer satisfaction by listening and responding to the needs of our customers
  • Are receptive to change
  • Celebrate quality service and work, by individuals and units
  • Have the power to act and take initiative to action in pursuit of our mission and vision
  • Support innovation, risk-taking and open-mindedness
  • Value and respect each other's individuality, skills and professional contributions

HUMAN RIGHTS BUREAU

  • Goal #1: Conduct timely impartial investigations of charges of illegal discrimination under state and federal law.
    • Complete case investigations within 120 days for housing charges and 180 days for all other charges in accordance with state statutory time lines.
  • Goal #2: Insure appropriate filing within statutory time lines and jurisdiction of applicable state and federal discrimination statutes.
    • Trained staff will screen complaint inquiries and, when appropriate, prepare written complaints within two weeks of all intake interviews.
  • Goal # 3: Foster early resolution of charges.
    • Provide mediation during the 180 day investigation period, when requested by parties to a case.
    • Successfully conciliate 55% of cases certified for hearing.
  • Goal # 4: Provide technical assistance and educational outreach to businesses, advocacy groups and interested citizens.
    • Participate in 15 Assistance to Business Clinics annually.
    • Participate in a minimum of 10 other workshops and conferences on disability issues, race relations, discrimination issues in the workplace, education and public accommodations.
    • Respond to business rights inquiries from the public within two business days.

LABOR STANDARDS BUREAU

  • Goal #1: Issue initial determinations on Wage and Hour complaints in a timely and efficient manner.
    • Maintain at least a 75% completion and strive for a 76% completion within 55 days of receipt.
  • Goal #2: Conduct timely dispute resolution and settlement of Wage and Hour complaints.
    • Maintain the 4% of cases forwarded to formal hearings processes.
    • Resolve at least 70% of the contested cases through mediation prior to hearing.
  • Goal #3: Foster alternative dispute resolution methodologies.
    • Actively participate in Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) contract mediation and grievance mediation as requested.
  • Goal #4: Conduct on-site visits on public construction and non-construction projects subject to the Montana Public Works Contract Law.
    • Perform on-site visits of at least 40 different public works projects.
    • Review payroll records of at least 85 contractors.

SAFETY and HEALTH BUREAU

  • Goal #1: Assist employers in complying with workplace safety and health standards.
    • Assist 200 public sector employers with safety and health.
    • Conduct inspections on Montana's six coal mines.
    • Conduct annual sand and gravel inspection.
    • Utilize the OSHA Consultation Program to reach out and provide safety and health services to 200 private sector employers around the state.
  • Goal #2: Provide educational outreach and technical assistance to Montana employers, workers, students and interested organizations.
    • Provide Business Outreach presentations throughout the State
    • Participate as an exhibitor promoting Safety & Health Bureau and SafetyFestMT 4x per year.
    • Provide OSHA 10 Hour Courses targeted to young workers 40x per year.
    • Provide SafetyFestMTs, in partnership with WorkSafeMT, 4 x per year to 1400 workers.
    • Develop needed safety educational materials
  • Goal #3: Provide mine training courses for Montana employers.
    • Train 1,000 – 1,500 miners and mining contractors in new miner training/refresher training through the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Small Miners training grant.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS ASSISTANCE BUREAU

  • Goal #1: Provide timely monitoring and regulatory services for the workers’ compensation industry and claimants.
    • Process 100% of orders within 14 days of receipt. This typically requires issuance of determinations on 1,700 orders annually.
  • Goal #2: Provide timely Stay at Work/Return to Work (SAW/RTW) assistance for injured workers, employers, and healthcare providers.
    • Mail a postcard to 100% of injured workers who file a report of injury to notify them of the assistance program.
    • Refer 100% of request for assistance to the insurer or vocational rehabilitation provider within 3 days of receipt.
    • Raise awareness of the assistance program through education and outreach to employers.
  • Goal #3: Provide timely, impartial, and equitable dispute resolution of benefit issues between claimants and insurers.
    • Maintain at least a 70% to 80% resolution rate for all workers' compensation mediation petitions filed. This typically requires conducting mediation conferences and issuing recommendations on 1,300 disputes annually.
    • Complete the mediation process on 100% of cases within 80 days of receipt of a petition for mediation. The timeframes may be extended by request and agreement of the parties.
  • Goal #4: Enhance the electronic collection, quality, production, and sharing of workers’ compensation information and data.
    • Complete the Annual Report by July of each year.
    • Prepare at least one special study to be made available to the workers’ compensation community each fiscal year.
  • Goal #5: Develop reviews of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines and Medical Fee schedules including internet based information and technical assistance for the medical community, insurers, adjusters, employers, workers, and the general public.
    • Develop reviews of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines and Medical Fee schedules including internet based information and technical assistance for the medical community, insurers, adjusters, employers, workers, and the general public.
    • Review and update of Utilization and Treatment Guidelines on an annual basis including ongoing support and communication.
  • Goal #6: Respond to independent medical reviews (IMR) and subsequent injury (SIF) reimbursements in a time manner.
    • Completion of the IMR requests within the statutory guidelines.
    • Complete SIF reimbursement requests in a timely manner.
  • Goal #7: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements and educational outreach to the public about the Workers’ Compensation Act.
    • 1. Correctly answer public inquiries. Public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
    • 2. Develop educational outreach for the Utilization and Treatment Guidelines, Fee Schedules, and IMRs.
    • 3. Participate in a minimum of 10 workshops and conferences annually to provide information about the programs administered by the bureau.

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REGULATION BUREAU

  • Goal #1: Provide technical assistance, public service announcements, and educational outreach to the public about Title 39, Chapters, 8, 9, 71, and 73, MCA.
    • Correctly answer public inquiries in an accurate, professional, and timely manner. Public presentations are accurate and knowledgeable of the laws.
    • Use resources and knowledge to educate employers and the general public about workers’ compensation requirements in Montana.
    • Visit construction sites to verify compliance with the workers’ compensation coverage and construction contractor registration.
  • Goal #2: Respond to applications and renewal requests in a timely manner.
    • Conduct timely compliance investigations for all new applications and renewals for Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates, Contractor Registrations, Self-Insurance, Professional Employer Organizations, Subsequent Injury Fund, and Managed Care Organizations.
  • Goal #3: Streamline the independent contractor process for scanning documents with a prior application to be verified and used in meeting the requirements for renewal.

Employment Relations Division Accomplishments

 

We appreciate your comments, questions and suggestions, however due to the increasing use of Spam Blocker software, we are not always able to reply to e-mails. Please provide an alternate way to contact you incase we experience problems responding to your email. Thank you.

Events

The Employment Relations Division plays a significant role in several statewide conferences including:

GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE

ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESS CLINICS

LABOR RELATIONS CONFERENCE

SAFETYFESTMT

Assistance for Business Clinics

The Assistance for Business Clinics are a series of seminars held in most Montana cities each spring and fall. These seminars provide an opportunity for business managers to learn what they need to know to comply with state and federal laws. Representatives from a variety of state and federal agencies provide short informative classes about their rules and regulations. For more information about the ABC, contact Carol Deegan, cdeegan@mt.gov. To view the upcoming schedule or to download a registration form, click on the link below.

Latest Schedule (pdf)

Annual Labor Relations Conference

The Annual Montana Labor Relations Conference is sponsored by the Montana Arbitrators Association, Montana Board of Personnel Appeals, Montana Department of Labor & Industry, National Labor Relations Board and The Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service.

Participants receive valuable information concerning arbitration preparation, collective bargaining and other topics relating to labor relations that can be practically applied to a variety of workplace settings.

Annual Labor Relations Conference

Contact Information

Paul Melvin
(406) 444-0035
pmelvin@mt.gov
or
Windy Knutson
(406) 444-0032
wknutson@mt.gov

2007 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Cover

Letter From the Commissioner
 
Summary
 
Section 1: Labor-Management Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation

Labor-Management Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation 3

    
Section 2: Montana's Workers' Compensation System  

Declaration of Public Policy 7
Insurance Coverage Requirements 8
Life of a Claim 9
Workers' Compensation System Administration 11
Workers' Compensation Market 13


Section 3: Claims Statistics  

Comparison of Claims by Plan Type 17
Injured Worker Characteristics 18
Insurer Denial Claims 23
Fatal Occupational Injuries - 2006 24

   
Section 4: Benefits  

Total Benefits 31
Benefit Distribution 34
Settlement Dollars 46
Injured Worker Attorney Fees 47
Insurer Legal Expenses 49

 
Section 5: Dispute Resolution  

Occupational Disease Evaluations 53
Mediation 54
Contested Case Hearings 56
Workers' Compensation Court 57
Significant Workers' Compensation Court Cases 59
Supreme Court Decisions on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Disease 70

  
Section 6: Department Administered Programs  

Organizational Charts 77
Workers' Compensation Assessments as Expended 79
Subsequent Injury Fund 80
Uninsured Employers' Fund 81
Occupational Safety & Health 83
Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates 85
Professional Employer Organizations 86


Appendices  

Definitions 91
Methodology 98
Data Sources 100
Future Annual Reports 101
Internet Site 101
Special Studies Available 101

2006 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Letter From the Commissioner
 
Summary
 
Section 1: Montana's Workers' Compensation Project
 

Phase 1 3
Phase 2 5


Section 2: 2007 Legislative Summary
 

House Bills 9
Senate Bills 10


Section 3: Montana's Workers' Compensation System  

Declaration of Public Policy 15
Insurance Coverage Requirements 16
Life of a Claim 17
Workers' Compensation System Administration 19
Workers' Compensation Market 21


Section 4: Claims Statistics  

Comparison of Claims by Plan Type 24
Injured Worker Characteristics 25
Insurer Denial of Claims 30
Fatal Occupational Injuries - 2005 31


Section 5: Benefits  

Total Benefits 38
Benefit Report Data 41
Settlement Dollars 49
Attorney Fees 50


Section 6: Dispute Resolution  

Occupational Disease Evaluations 54
Mediation 55
Contested Case Hearings 57
Workers' Compensation Court 58
Significant Workers' Compensation Court Cases 60
Supreme Court Decisions on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Disease 65


Section 7: Department Administered Programs  

Organizational Charts 70
Workers' Compensation Assessments as Expended 71
Subsequent Injury Fund 72
Uninsured Employers' Fund 73
Occupational Safety & Health 75
Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates 77
Professional Employer Organizations 78


Appendices  

Definitions 81
Methodology 87
Data Sources 89
Future Annual Reports 90
Internet Site 90
Special Studies Available 90

 

2005 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Letter From the Commissioner

Summary i

Section 1: Montana's Workers' Compensation System

Declaration of Public Policy 3
Insurance Coverage Requirements 4
Life of a Claim 5
Montana's Workers' Compensation System Administration 7
Montana Workers' Compensation Market 9


Section 2: Claims Statistics

Comparison of Claims by Plan Type 13
Injured Worker Characteristics 14
Insurer Denial of Claims 20
Fatal Occupational Injuries - 2004 21


Section 3: Benefits  

Total Benefits 27
Benefit Report Data 30
Settlement Dollars 38
Attorney Fees 39


Section 4: Dispute Resolution  

Occupational Disease Evaluations 43
Mediation 44
Contested Case Hearings 46
Workers' Compensation Court 47
Significant Workers' Compensation Court Cases 49
Selected Supreme Court Decisions on Workers' Compensation and Occupational Disease 54


Section 5: Department Administered Programs  

Organizational Charts 59
Workers' Compensation Assessments as Expended 60
Suseqent Injury Fund 61
Uninsured Employers' Fund 62
Occupational Safety & Health 64
Independent Contractor Exemptions 66
Professional Employer Organizations 67


Appendices  

Definitions 71
Methodology 76
Data Sources 77
Future Annual Reports 78
Internet Site 78
Special Studies Available 78

2004 Annual Report

Table of Contents

Letter From the Commissioner
 
Summary

Montana's Workers' Compensation System

Declaration of Public Policy 3
Insurance Coverage Requirements 4
Life of a Claim 5
Montana's Workers' Compensation System Administration 7
Montana Workers' Compensation Market 9


Court Cases and Decisions

Significant Workers' Compensation Court Cases 12
Montana Supreme Court Decisions on Workers' Compenstation & Occupational Disease 17


Claims Statistics

Comparison of Claims by Plan Type 20
Injured Worker Characteristics 21
Insurer Denial of Claims 27


Benefits

Total Benefits 30
Benefit Report Data 32
Settlement Dollars 39
Settlement Attorney Fees 40
Rehabilitation 41


Dispute Resolution

Occupational Disease Evaluations 44
Mediation 45
Contested Case Hearings 47
Workers' Compensation Court 48


Department Administered Programs

Organizational Charts 52
Workers' Compensation Assessments as Expended 53
Subsequent Injury Fund 54
Uninsured Employers' Fund 55
Occupational Safety & Health 57
Independent Contractor Exemptions 59
Professional Employer Organizations 60


Appendices

Definitions 64
Methodology 69
Data Sources 70
Future Annual Reports 71
Internet Site 71
Special Studies Available 71