Contributions

This Con­tri­bu­tion exam­ines whether a bar can dis­crim­i­nate on the basis of gen­der in its bar­tender hir­ing prac­tices. Matthew Peter­son (’21) argues that Title VII’s bona fide occu­pa­tion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tion (“BFOQ”) excep­tion should not shield bars from gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion lia­bil­i­ty. The text and pur­pose of Title VII com­mand a nar­row inter­pre­ta­tion of the BFOQ excep­tion, and a bar cater­ing to pref­er­ences for female bar­tenders is pre­cise­ly the type of unde­sir­able hir­ing prac­tice that Title VII seeks to pro­hib­it. The “essence” of a bar is mak­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing drinks, and the com­ple­tion of these tasks does not depend upon the gen­der of a bar­tender. Courts should not per­mit bars to jus­ti­fy such dis­crim­i­na­tion with claims of sup­port­ing “authen­tic enter­tain­ment.” Unlike an actor or dancer, whose core job func­tion is per­for­mance, a bartender’s pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty is pro­vid­ing service.