Gov. Gianforte Reaffirms Montana Law Banning Discrimination Based On Vaccination Status

Governor Greg Gianforte has provided guidance to Montana employers and employees impacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule mandating vaccines for employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. 

“Montana law is unequivocal: employers are prohibited from discriminating based on vaccination status,” Gov. Gianforte wrote in guidance to Montanans. “While employers may encourage employees to vaccinate, they may not tie or modify any terms of employment based on vaccination status.”

On Nov. 5, 2021, OSHA published the “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard” applicable to employers with 100 or more employees nationwide. The OSHA mandate violates Montana law prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s vaccination status. 

Can Vaccination Status Lead to Discrimination?

Perhaps, there is a vaccination mandate, which means employees must be vaccinated. Or maybe vaccinations are still optional for employees to allow for minimal disruption to how the company operates. There are pros and cons to each choice. With Covid-19 having caused a worldwide pandemic, millions of deaths, and the upheaval of life as we knew it in 2020, the availability of a vaccine was seen as a blessing by many.

The possible lifesaving implications of a vaccine meant employers could reopen their doors and safely reintegrate staff working from home back into the office. Mandating vaccines for in-office work was a smart choice for companies that wanted to give employees and clients confidence in the safety of coming back into their buildings.

Some employees either didn’t want to get the vaccine, couldn’t get it, or wanted to continue working from home to ensure safety.

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