Can an employee's gender be part of the job requirement?
Author: William Denham, Shortt & Nguyen, PC.
Yes. An employer may make gender part of a job requirement, but only in extremely narrow circumstances. Title VII generally prohibits gender discrimination in the workplace, unless the employer can show that is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) and gender itself is crucial and necessary to the successful performance of the job. A BFOQ relates to the essence, or central purpose of the employer's business. For example, it is permissible for an employer to require female employees to model ladies swimsuits. Before relying on the BFOQ defense, an employer should be careful and consider whether it is engaging in unlawful sex stereotyping.