As discussed in the previous blog, employers are within their right to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees. Employers with employees in various jurisdictions must be aware of state laws that prohibit such mandates. This blog focuses on the state of Montana. (NOTE: This blog focuses on the pertinent points that relate to employment practices.)
Montana House Bill 702 is aptly called, “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on a Person’s Vaccination Status or Possession of an Immunity Passport…”
Under this bill, it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to do the following:
- Refuse, withhold from or deny an individual an employment opportunity based on their vaccination status or whether the person has an immunity passport.
- Refuse employment to a person based on a person’s vaccination status.
- Bar a person from employment based on a person’s vaccination status.
- Discriminate against a person in compensation or in a term, condition or privilege of employment based on the person’s vaccination status.
The bill also prohibits employers from requiring employees to receive, “any vaccine whose use is allowed under an emergency use authorization or any vaccine undergoing safety trials.” As of the date of this blog, none of the COVID-19 vaccines have been fully approved by the FDA. Per this bill, once the vaccines are approved by the FDA, employers in Montana can require that their employees obtain a vaccine.
The bill does take special note that employers may “recommend that an employee receive a vaccine.”
Multi-jurisdictional employers must be aware of laws such as Montana H.B. 702. Employers are within their right to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. However, employers with individuals working in Montana or with locations in the state, must adhere to H.B. 702 and include addendums to their COVID-19 Policies.
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