What is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification or “BFOQ"?


A BFOQ is a work requirement reasonably necessary to the normal performance of a job, such as being a certain age or gender, or having the ability to lift a certain amount of weight.  A BFOQ is possibly illegal if it excludes a protected group of people – workers protected due to their race, religion, national origin, age, gender or disability.  However, a BFOQ that is shown to be in good faith can be legal, such as being 21 years or age or older if the job requires you to serve alcohol, or being female to work as a fitter in a lingerie department.

Last Review and Update: May 24, 2012
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