Occupational exposure to lead entails health risks including the risk
Occupational exposure to lead entails health risks, including the risk of harm to any fetus carried by a woman subjected to such exposure. Eight employees of an employer, in whose battery manufacturing process lead was a primary ingredient, became pregnant while maintaining blood-lead levels in excess of the level that appeared to be the critical level noted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a woman who was planning to have a family. Afterward, the employer announced a policy bar ring all women, except those whose inability to bear children was medically documented, from jobs involving exposure or potential exposure to lead at a level exceeding OSHA standards. A group of employees who had been affected by the employer's fetal-protection policy fi led, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a class action challenging the policy as sex discrimination that violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits sex-based classifications in terms and conditions of employment, in hiring and discharge decisions, and in other employment decisions. May the employer defend by arguing that being male is a bona fi de occupational qualification for the job of manufacturing batteries? Or does the employ- er's action violate Title VII? Explain your reasoning.
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