About the Montana Human Rights Bureau
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry is the state agency which enforces Montana's discrimination laws. The Human Rights Bureau of the Department receives and investigates complaints of illegal discrimination.
Montana's Discrimination Laws
Montana's discrimination laws can be found in the Montana Human Rights Act (Title 49) and in the Montana Governmental Code of Fair Practices.
These laws make it unlawful to discriminate in:
- State and Local Governmental Services and Employment
- Insurance (sex and marital status only)
- Public Accommodations
- Familial Status (housing only)
- Marital Status
- National Origin
- Physical or Mental Disability
- Political Beliefs or Ideas (governmental services and employment only)
- Sex (including pregnancy, maternity and sexual harassment)
These laws also make it unlawful to retaliate against a person for opposing unlawful discriminatory practices or for participating in a human rights proceeding.
- Anyone who hires one or more persons is subject to the Montana Human Rights Act
- Questions on applications should be related to skills, experience, and education important to performing the job
- Avoid questions about an applicant’s race, age, religion, medical condition, marital status, or family responsibilities
- To avoid claims of discrimination, apply standards equally to all employees
The Human Rights Bureau strongly encourages all Montana employers to develop effective discrimination policies and grievance procedures. Effective policies and procedures will protect your employees from discrimination and may prevent liability for violations of state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
Issues that are NOT Within the Authority of the Bureau
The Bureau does not handle:
- Hiring and firing decisions which do not relate to discrimination based upon the factors listed above, such as termination without good cause under the Montana Wrongful Discharge Act;
- Access to and confidentiality of personnel files;
- Smokers rights; Indoor Clean Air Act (except when a physically handicapped non-smoker alleges handicap discrimination based upon the smoking of others);
- Matters related to arrest, criminal convictions, or sentencing;
- Matters related to divorce proceedings, child custody and child support;
- Matters related to decrees issued by courts;
- Veterans preference;
- General unfair treatment not based upon one of the protected classes listed above;
- Unlawful discrimination alleged to have been committed by the federal government or by tribal governments.