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Employee Discipline: Montana

Employee Discipline requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Jason Ritchie, Holland & Hart LLP


  • Disciplinary discharge in Montana must occur consistent with the Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act requiring good cause. Employers cannot discharge employees for whistleblowing in violation of public policy that is enshrined in established laws or regulations. See Protection from Wrongful Discharge.
  • Employers may not retaliate by disciplining employees for opposing illegal discrimination, participating in related legal proceedings, filing worker compensation claims or for providing information regarding securities fraud. See Other Retaliation Protections.
  • Employee discipline should avoid any discriminatory motive based on race, sex, or other characteristics protected by Title VII and the Montana Human Rights Act. In addition, Montana law prohibits adverse disciplinary action based on pregnancy, or on marital status, both of which go beyond requirements of federal law. See Discrimination Law.
  • Montana law regulates or prohibits disciplinary action against employees based on polygraph tests, drug or alcohol tests, or illegally intercepted or recorded communications. See Privacy Law.
  • It is good practice to document all employee discipline and the reasons underlying it in employee personnel files. See Recordkeeping.
  • Employers should use caution when making disciplinary decisions based on employee arrest or conviction records. See Arrests and Convictions.
  • Employee theft of trade secrets is governed by the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. See Trade Secrets.
  • Noncompete agreements are generally void in Montana unless they meet certain tests of reasonableness. See Noncompete Agreements.
  • Employee claims of false imprisonment can arise from discipline situations where employees are physically confined within or commanded not to leave the workplace. See False Imprisonment.
  • Employers should use caution when making disciplinary decisions based on an employee's personal social media information. See Social Media Privacy.
  • Postings required or recommended notices of employee rights and other legal requirements under state or federal law can assist the discipline process in case of any dispute. See Required Postings.