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BFOQ’s: The Only Exception to the Rules

What is a BFOQ?

A Bona-Fide Occupational Qualification or BFOQ allows an employer to limit the pool of applicants based on gender, religion, national origin or age. BFOQ’s do NOT apply to race or color.

To be eligible to establish a BFOQ, an employer must prove that restricting candidates based on sex, religion, national origin or age is necessary for the successful operation of the business. This is difficult to establish; very few employers are successfully awarded a BFOQ. Here are some possible BFOQ’s:

  1. A Battered Women’s Shelter may hire only women because men could inhibit the rehabilitation of the shelter’s occupants.
  2. A night club restricts applicants to those over the age of 21.
  3. A men’s clothing firm seeks only males for modeling positions.