Montana Costco’s Will NOT Require Workers Be Vaccinated, Citing HB702
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We told you last week about OSHA regulations that make employers liable for any adverse reactions employees have from vaccines if required to take one as a condition of employment. With recently passed HB702, the Montana Legislature extends protections further to protect Montana workers from being discriminated against in employment based on their vaccination status.
Bill sponsor, House District 69 Rep Jennifer Carlson, posted on Facebook what appears to be a flyer directed at Montana Costco employees notifying workers that the company will not require vaccinations nor require workers admit their vaccination status as a condition of employment.
The poster reads, “Pursuant to Montana HB702, Costco will NOT require proof or attestation by employees of vaccination status. Those who choose not to wear a mask must still follow other common COVID-19 precautions such as symptom screening, and the need to get tested if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Costco still recommends that vaccinated and unvaccinated people continue to follow CDC Guidelines.”
Rep. Carlson cited “behind the scenes” educating that took place with the passage of HB702 for the announcement from the retailer and that workers whose employers are discriminating based on vaccination status can find recourse by filing a report with the Montana Human Rights Bureau,
So much educating has been going on behind the scenes on the new law that was House Bill 702. I am pleased to share that one of our larger statewide employers has been successfully educated that the practice of discriminating against employees based on their vaccination status is now illegal in Montana. Many thanks to Lt. Gov. Juras for her advocacy for Montanans.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, please begin by respectfully educating. — Many people still do not know that this is the law in Montana, and the only way they will know is if someone tells them. Print out a copy of the bill and keep the conversation civil.
Montana is the only state I know of who has this level of protection for your privacy in vaccination status/possession of an immunity passport (you cannot be required to be vaccinated or to offer proof of vaccination), so give those who are not yet aware some grace while asserting your rights.
If you cannot come to a resolution, you should file a report to the Montana Human Rights Bureau. You can find the instructions to file a self-report here: https://erd.dli.mt.gov/human-rights/filing-a-complaint/self-drafted-complaint
and a list of protected classes here to share with employers and public accommodations is here: https://erd.dli.mt.gov/human-rights/
Bill Language: https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/billpdf/HB0702.pdf
(Please note there are exceptions to the general language for hospitals and nursing homes in regards to employees, providing legal avenues to ensure patient safety and maintain reasonable infection control.)