When hiring, employers typically want to give preference to a person with particular characteristics or qualifications. In doing so, however, they need to avoid giving preference in a way that amounts to illegal discrimination.
Which Types of Preferences in Job Advertisements Are Illegal?
Nevada law and federal law prohibit job advertisements that indicate a preference or limitation based on a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. The same prohibition applies in recruitment generally.
Are There Any Exceptions?
An employer might have a legitimate reason for discriminating based on one of these characteristics. For example, a religious organization might want to give preference to applicants who are most familiar with the faith’s beliefs, or a hotel might want a woman to be an attendant in a women’s restroom. The law provides an exception for these types of situations.
The law allows advertising and hiring preferences based on a protected characteristic if the desired characteristic is a “bona fide occupational qualification” (“BFOQ”), meaning the qualification is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business.
Some employers might mistakenly believe, or argue, that a qualification is necessary for a specific position. Only a preference or limitation that is truly a BFOQ is legal and may be expressed in a job posting or advertisement.