What is a bona fide occupational qualification?

Canada (Federal), Canada

The following excerpt is from Canadian National Railway Co. v. Canada (Human Rights Comm.) and Bhinder, 1981 CanLII 4297 (CHRT):

This aspect of a bona fide occupational qualification was also dealt with in the U.S. case of Weeks v. Southern Bell, supra. There, the employer had refused to hire the complainant because of her sex. Not only did the respondent feel that the applicant could not execute the "strenuous" tasks that would be demanded of her, it thought that she would be placed in greater danger than would males. The job demanded that employees work late hours alone. The employer was unwilling to place a woman in such a position.

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