The Arizona Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age (40 years and over), mental or physical disability, national origin, or genetic test results (AZ Rev. Stat. Sec. 41-1401 et seq.). The Act also prohibits employment discrimination based on an applicant's association with an individual with a disability. Employers should avoid asking questions about any of these characteristics, either on an application form or in a job interview, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). Inquiries should be limited to those needed to determine the applicant's ability to perform the particular job. The Act covers employers with 15 or more employees. There is additional information.
BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about an applicant's age, religion, sex, or national origin only if it is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. Note that Arizona's civil rights law does not provide a BFOQ exception for race or color. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be essential to the applicant's ability to perform the job. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, and, in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds.