What is a BFOQ

What is a BFOQ?

A BFOQ, or bona fide occupational qualification, is a characteristic that employers are allowed to consider upon hiring and firing due to the nature of the occupation.  Such characteristics include age, gender, religion, and nationality, which would generally be considered employer discrimination in any other context.

Examples of BFOQs

BFOQ’s exist in numerous employment fields. To help you better understand the circumstances necessary for a BFOQ to be viable, we have compiled the following list of examples:

  • Age: Employees who must be between certain ages in order satisfactorily perform their duties (i.e.  airline pilots and bus drivers must retire at a certain age for safety reasons)
  • Gender: If a business’ reputation relies on a particular gendered wait staff, then they are able to discriminate in favor of males or females (i.e. Hooters)
  • Religion: Businesses which deem it “reasonably necessary” for an employee to be of a certain religion to perform their job duties (i.e. selling religious magazines)
  • Nationality: When an employer deems it “reasonably necessary” for an employee to be of a particular nation of origin (i.e. when a director wants to cast a Cuban to play Fidel Castro in a movie)

While BFOQs exist in a number of establishments, the defense is limited to very particular circumstances.  Unless the essence of a job description is limited to persons of a certain age, gender, religion, or nationality, it is unlawful to discriminate on these grounds.

Contact Us

If you believe you have been discriminated against when BFOQs were not relevant, contact the San Antonio employment lawyers of Melton & Kumler, LLP. Dial 800-681-6932 today for a free consultation.

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