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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Hiring 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.
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