What Is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification?

Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) refers to a legally allowed restriction needed to hire an employee for a specific position based on their sex, religion, or origin, for example.

What Are Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Examples?

Bona fide occupational qualification examples include:

  • Hiring a person with specific religion values because it would impair normal operations of the business otherwise
  • Hiring only people over a certain age due to health and safety considerations
  • Assigning a mandatory retirement age for bus drivers or airplane pilots
  • Requiring a person to be able to lift a certain weight in order to fulfill their responsibilities

Why Is Proving Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Essential?

Proving bona fide occupational qualification is essential to ensure people will not be discriminated against without real motives.

Are There Laws to Regulate How Employers Can Hire Based on Bona Fide Occupational Qualification?

In the United States, bona fide occupational qualification is defined in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It contains the exceptions allowed.

In Canada, bona fide occupational qualification (or requirement) is overseen in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the provincial laws.

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