Ohio State Law Journal
The bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) is a statutory defense to intentional discrimination under Title VII. 1 The BFOQ defense permits an employer to adopt an otherwise facially discriminatory employment practice if "reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business. . . ." 2 Both the courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have traditionally interpreted this defense very narrowly. A gender-based employment classification, for example, qualifies as a BFOQ only if the failure to adopt a single-sex policy undermines the employer's ability to accomplish its essential business mission. 3
Stephen F. Befort, BFOQ Revisited: Johnson Controls Halts the Expansion of the Defense to Intentional Sex Discrimination, 52 Ohio St. L.J. 5 (1991), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/54.