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Montana Bill Prohibits Vaccine Mandates Until FDA Approval

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.


Susie M. Cirilli is a Labor & Employment attorney that assists clients with issues involving the ADA, FMLA, and Title VII claims. Susie litigates on matters related to hostile work environment, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, race and disability. Susie has experience representing employers in fact-finding conferences and mediations before the PHRC and the EEOC. Susie’s practice also consists of counseling and advising clients on employment matters. She often advises employers on day to day employment matters and assists her clients on employee issues such as hiring and terminations, which includes drafting and negotiating separation agreements. Susie has experience drafting and revising employment agreements, employee handbooks, non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. Susie is admitted in the Middle District and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is also admitted in the Federal Court for the District of New Jersey.

Offit Kurman, one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. With 15 offices and nearly 250 lawyers who counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice, Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration. For more information, visit www.offitkurman.com.


Author: Susie Cirilli, Esq.
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the charlotte observer and Mike Hunter.

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