Proving a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement

Once a prima facie case is established, the employer may defend the discriminatory standard by proving that it is a bona fide occupational requirement.

This is also known as the Meiorin test.

“The following is a three-step test for determining whether a prima facie discriminatory standard is a BFOR (Bona Fide Occupational Requirement). An employer must justify the impugned standard by establishing on the balance of probabilities:

1. That the employer adopted the standard for a purpose rationally connected to the performance of the job;
2. That the employer adopted the particular standard in an honest and good faith belief that it was necessary to the fulfillment of that legitimate work-related purpose; and
3. That the standard is reasonably necessary to the accomplishment of the work-related purpose.

To show that the standard is reasonably necessary, it must be demonstrated that it is impossible to accommodate individual employees sharing the characteristics of the the claimant without imposing undue hardship upon the employer.

©Conni Kilfoil, Equality Representative, Canadian Union of Public Employees