Johnson Controls, Inc. (Johnson Controls) manufactures batteries. Lead is the primary ingredient in the manufacturing process. Exposure to lead entails health risks, including risk of harm to a fetus carried by a female employee. To protect unborn children from such risk, Johnson Controls adopted an employment rule that prevented pregnant women and women of childbearing age from working at jobs involving lead exposure. Only women who were sterilized or could prove they could not have children were not affected by the rule. Consequently, most female employees were relegated to lower paying clerical jobs at the company. Several female employees filed a class action suit, challenging Johnson Controls’s fetal protection policy as sex discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Johnson Controls defended, asserting that its fetal protection policy was justified as a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). Is Johnson Controls’s fetal protection policy a BFOQ, or does it constitute sex discrimination, in violation of Title VII? International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U. S. 187, 111 S. Ct. 1196, 1991 U. S. Lexis 1715 (Supreme Court of the United States)
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