The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) prohibits all public employers, private employers of four or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations from printing or publishing any advertisement or notice that expresses any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination with respect to race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, non-job-related disability, or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness, or physical disability. PA Stat. Tit. 43 Sec. 954, Sec. 955 )
However, race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin may be mentioned if based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
According to regulations issued by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, the BFOQ exception is limited to situations where the characteristic is reasonably necessary to the essence of the employer’s business. A BFOQ allowing discrimination in employment is permissible only when the employer can prove a factual basis for believing that all or substantially all members of a class covered by the PHRA would be unable to perform safely and efficiently the duties of the job involved. Absent such a showing, an applicant for a job may be excluded only upon a demonstration of individual incapacity. Before advertising a BFOQ for a particular job, an employer must receive oral or written approval from the Commission (PA Admin. Code Tit. 16 Sec. 41.71, Sec. 41.72)
For additional information regarding securing approval for advertising a BFOQ for a particular job, employers may contact the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail) or by calling 717-787-4410.