The Idaho Human Rights Act prohibits employers from making inquiries of prospective employees that state or imply any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability. Inquiries about these factors are permissible, however, if based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The law applies to all public employers and private employers with five or more employees (ID Code Sec. 67-5901et seq.).
BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about one of the previously listed characteristics 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. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be absolutely 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, generally, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds.
The Idaho Commission on Human Rights has published guidance to help employers analyze their application forms and hiring practices to avoid problems with preemployment inquiries. The information includes a list of acceptable and unacceptable preemployment questions. For further information, go to http://www.humanrights.idaho.gov