An OB/GYN unit of a hospital advertised for a position opening for a Registered Nurse. The hospital had a 20 year policy of hiring ONLY female obstetric nurses. A male, who was a reg- istered nurse, with past experience as an obstetrics nurse, applied for the position, and was turned down, as he was not female. The hospital argued that a female was necessary for this position, due to the intimate nature of obstetrics. They said that having a male OB nurse vio- lated the privacy rights of the patients. There are no OB nurse positions that do not involve patients with their private parts exposed. Furthermore, even in cases where a male doctor is allowed, patients demand a female nurse as a “chaperone.” Finally, they showed evidence that at a teaching hospital, 80 percent of all patients refused to allow male students to be in the room during treatment, while few refused female students (State EEO newsletter, 2004).
1. Is this practice discriminatory?
2. Is the BFOQ defense legitimate?
3. Why, or why not?