The Case of Detention Discrimination
In this case, the Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center started a new policy requiring each unit of the facility to be staffed at all times by at least one officer of the same gender as the detainees housed at a unit. The purpose of the policy was to reduce the likelihood of sexual abuse of juveniles by offers of the opposite gender. Due to the makeup of the force, the policy had the effect of reducing the number of shifts for female officers and increasing the number of shifts for men. Two female officers sued for gender discrimination. The district court held for the county, finding that the policy of assignment was based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) and so it was not illegal gender discrimination. The female officers appealed. What would be evidence that the county had a valid BFOQ? In order to answer these question, we will need to discuss and define gender discrimination and discuss the elements of Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications (BFOQ).
Gender discrimination is when an employer discriminates against a person based upon whether they are male or female. This discrimination can be done in the form of classifying a job as either a male only or female only job; advertising in help-wanted columns for a male or female; keeping separate seniority lists based on gender; promoting someone based solely on their gender; etc. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as under other federal acts, employers are forbidden to discriminate based on gender, unless, they can prove that the applicant's gender is essential to the job. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits employers from gender-based wage discrimination and require equal pay for equal work. In this type of suit, the court will review the primary duties of the two jobs and determine whether the difference is wages is based on any factor other...