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AG Knudsen issues legal guidance on the Biden vaccine mandate and illegal vaccine discrimination

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen issued legal guidance today on the status of the Biden administration’s announced federal vaccine mandate and discrimination based on vaccine status, which is illegal in Montana. The guidance is intended to alleviate confusion resulting from President Biden’s September 9 speech discussing his plans to compel private employers to force their employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

A U.S. Department of Labor spokesperson issued a statement Tuesday stating that the agency submitted the initial text of the emergency temporary standard to the Office of Management and Budget as part of the regulatory review process.

“On October 12, the Biden administration said it has submitted the initial text of an emergency temporary standard rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. However, no such rule or regulation is currently in effect,” Knudsen’s guidance reads. “Further, my office is preparing to immediately challenge and enjoin this federal overreach on a variety of grounds when the Biden administration issues its announced rule.”

Two lawsuits have been filed challenging the new state law established by House Bill 702 that protects Montana workers from discrimination based on their vaccine status. Attorney General Knudsen’s office is fighting both pro-discrimination lawsuits in state court.

“House Bill 702 is the law in Montana, and it prohibits employers from discriminating against people based on their vaccination status. Two separate lawsuits have been filed attempting to rollback these protections for Montana workers, but these pro-discrimination lawsuits have not changed the law,” Knudsen wrote in the memo. “Discrimination based on vaccination status is illegal in Montana. Violators of the law can – and should – be held accountable.”

Anyone suffering discrimination by an employer based on their vaccination status should contact the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s Human Rights Bureau at 406-444-4356 or 1-800-542-0807. A formal complaint must be filed with the Bureau within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory action. Fore more information on filing a complaint, click here.

Immediately following Biden’s September 9 speech, Attorney General Knudsen announced he would file a lawsuit when the federal rule was issued. Additionally, he and 23 other state attorneys general warned Biden that this “disastrous and counterproductive” mandate would only drive more Americans from the job market, further burdening the health care system and the economy.

Click here to view Attorney General Knudsen’s guidance.