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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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, including "glass ceiling," claims as well as whistleblower retaliation cases. He 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 Deputy Special Counsel for Litigation and Legal Affairs with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.