The Idaho Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (ID Code Sec. 67-5901et seq.). The law applies to private employers with five or more employees, to all public employers, and to state contractors and subcontractors.
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Differences in treatment are permissible where sex is a BFOQ reasonable to the normal conduct of the business. However, these situations are extremely rare and employers should exercise caution in relying on such a rationale when making gender-based employment decisions.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) allows the use of a BFOQ defense only as an "extremely narrow exception to the general prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex" (Breiner v. Nevada Dept. of Corrections, 610 F.3d 1202 (9th Cir. 2010)). In this case, the employer wanted to hire only female correction officers to work at a women's prison following several incidents of sexual abuse by male correction officers. However, the court ruled that there was no factual basis for believing that all or substantially all men would be unable to safely and effectively perform the duties of the job. The court noted that a BFOQ defense may be invoked only when the essence of the business operation would be undermined by hiring individuals of both sexes.
The law prohibits preemployment inquiries that express any employment limitation, directly or indirectly, on the basis of sex. Employers should avoid asking questions about childbearing, pregnancy, marital ...