bona fide occupational qualification - Legal Definition
Employment practices that would constitute discrimination as to certain individuals of a particular religion, gender, national origin, or age range (but not race or color) when the otherwise illegal discrimination is a bona fide qualification that is reasonably necessary for the normal performance of the duties of that particular occupation. For example, a designer of women’s clothes by necessity is permitted to hire only female models to show off new designs. Such practices are not illegal under federal law. In addition, religious organizations and schools are allowed to hire only members of that religion even if religion is not a bona fide occupational qualification for that position (such as the requirement that all teachers in a parochial school be Catholic, even though they teach subjects that do not require Catholic background). Abbr. BFOQ.