Understanding Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications
When companies are contemplating interviewees for positions in a business, they are not able to discriminate against a potential employee based on factors of age, race, religion, sex, or nation of origin. However, Title 29 of the United States Code provides an exception detailing when it is appropriate for any of the above factors to play a role in a company’s hiring practices.
Known as Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (or BFOQ), a company is able to hire an employee based on issues of face, religion, sex, age, or nation of origin if it is “reasonably necessary” to the success of the business or employment position in question.
For example, if a Catholic school is hiring new teachers, they can specify that only members of the Catholic faith are considered for teaching positions, as religion is reasonably necessary for the position in question.
However, the same Catholic school would not legally be able to stipulate that a janitor hired to clean the school must be of the Catholic faith, because issues of religion are not reasonably necessary for a janitorial position.
While the BFOQ condition is appropriate for many positions, this clause is often abused by employers who wish to hire along certain discriminatory lines. Because of this, companies are often taken to court by rejected interviewees who felt that issues of age, race, etc. were not “reasonably necessary” for the job they applied for and did not receive.
If you believe that you have been unfairly rejected from a job based on discriminatory factors, contact the Austin discrimination attorneys of The Melton Law Firm today at 512-330-0017.