Time & Attendance
By Staff Report
Dec. 24, 1999
Issue: After all that has been said about the prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, national origin, or age, it may come as a surprise to learn that federal law specifically permits the use of these characteristics as qualifications for some jobs. As an HR professional, what do you need to know about the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception to federal employment discrimination laws?
Answer: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that employment decisions may be made on the basis of sex, religion, or national origin (but not race or color) if the sex, religion, or national origin is a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 contains a similar provision for the BFOQ exception in regard to age.
The availability of a BFOQ exception is predicated on two conditions: (1) A particular religion, sex, national origin or age must be an actual qualification for performing the job; and (2) the requirement must be necessary to the normal operation of the employer’s business. The same exception is allowed for job notices and advertisements, where the position at issue requires a worker of a particular religion, sex, national origin or age. The availability of a claimed BFOQ exception is determined on a case-by-case basis.
HR professionals should keep in mind the following points from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding the BFOQ:
SOURCES: “Employer EEO Responsibilities: Preventing Discrimination in the Workplace: The Law and EEOC Procedures” by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Technical Assistance Program. May 1999 (Revised); and “Age Discrimination: Employment Discrimination Prohibited by The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as Amended” by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Technical Assistance Program. May 1999 (Revised).
SOURCE: CCH Incorporated is a leading provider of information and software for human resources, legal, accounting, health-care and small-business professionals. CCH offers human resource management, payroll, employment, benefits, and worker-safety products and publications in print, CD, online and via the Internet. For more information and other updates on the latest HR news, check our Web site at http://hr.cch.com.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.
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