Image of What is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense?

What is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) defense?



A bona fide occupational qualification defense is a defense that a company can assert when it has hired, or fired, or promoted somebody that is based on a protected characteristic. Generally, that type of hiring or employment decision cannot be based on somebody’s protected characteristic. Let’s say their religion. But in certain very limited circumstances, courts will allow an employer– let’s say, for example, a Catholic school. Courts will allow that Catholic school to hire only a Catholic person to be the head of that school but it’s a limited defense. In that same example of a Catholic school, they would not be permitted to hire only janitors who are also Catholic because that does not rise to the level of a bona fide occupational qualification. It’s only where it’s the head or very high up people that are representing the school, that that type of defense could apply.

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best sexual harassment attorneys Washington DC Maryland VirginiaHiring a proven and effective advocate is critical to obtaining the maximum recovery in an employment discrimination case.  Eric Bachman, Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination Practice, has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting individual and class action discrimination cases.   His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain.   As Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is  a litigator ready to fight for you to obtain the relief that you deserve. 

Bachman writes frequently on employment discrimination issues at the Glass Ceiling Discrimination Blog and has been quoted in national media about discrimination cases.   U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you.  To schedule a preliminary consultation, click here or call us at (202) 769-1681.

Eric Bachman litigates employment discrimination and whistleblower retaliation cases. He can be reached at (202) 769-1681 and [email protected] Bachman is Chair of the discrimination and retaliation Practices at Zuckerman Law. Previously, Bachman served as Special Litigation Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and a Deputy Special Counsel with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.