to the EEOC, a Missouri hospital discriminated against its male nurses by
preferring to have female nurses treat female patients. But, is this really
unlawful sex discrimination?
A "bona fide occupational qualification" defense permits
discrimination based on sex, age, religion, or national origin (but not race)
where the protected class is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of
that particular business or enterprise. To qualify as a BFOQ, a job
qualification must relate to the essence, or to the central mission of the
employer's business. One example of a BFOQ is a safety-based mandatory
retirement age for airline pilots.
Is the sex of the person providing medical treatment
another example of a BFOQ? Or, is this the type of sex-based stereotype that
Title VII is supposed to eradicate? Or, does it depend on the type of treatment
being provided? Readers, what do you think?
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