Alaska Sex Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Alaska Sex Discrimination: What you need to know

The Alaska Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment because of sex, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.220). The law applies to all employers in the state.
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Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Differences in treatment are permissible where the “reasonable demands of the position” require distinctions on the basis of sex. These include advertising, application forms for employment, and inquiries in connection with prospective employment where a limitation or discrimination as to sex may be specified only if sex is a BFOQ (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.220(a)(3)). These situations are rare, however, and should be handled with extreme caution.
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.
Health and retirement benefits. It is not unlawful discrimination based on marital status or parenthood for an employer to provide greater health and retirement ...

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