Name two examples where gender may be a bona fide occupational requirement for the job.
Bona fide occupational qualifications are skills, talents or attributes that are necessary in the performance of a job. [ They’re a significant element of labor law in the United States because they provide an exemption for employers, in certain cases, from charges of illegal discrimination. On the other hand, many job descriptions have successfully been challenged because they included
discriminatory job requirements that were not bona fide occupational qualifications.
Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers in the United States had wide latitude in setting forth the qualifications candidates must meet when applying for work. The most common qualifications were gender and race — employers would frequently specify that candidates must be male, or in some cases, female. With respect to race, qualifications were more often exclusionary. Race-based exclusions were more difficult to pinpoint because many employers wouldn’t bother to specify race on a job ad, but they simply wouldn’t hire any candidates that didn’t meet their qualifications.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion, sex, race, age and national origin, except where they constituted bona fide occupational qualifications. Thus, employers advertising for secretaries or bookkeepers could no longer specify that only female applicants would be considered, just as nursing would no longer be restricted to women. The rule goes beyond gender and race, though. For example, a religious organization can require that its clergy be members of its denomination, and can also extend that requirement to the teachers in its school. It cannot, however, impose that requirement on groundskeepers or janitorial staff, because their ability to do their jobs wouldn’t be impacted by their membership in one religion or another.
Age-based discrimination is also permitted under certain circumstances. ]
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