Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph

In Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph, 408 F.2d 228 (5th Cir. 1969), the court rejected Southern Bell's claim that a male-only qualification for the position of switchman was a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) under Title VII. Southern Bell argued, and the District Court had found, that the job was "strenuous," but the court observed that that "finding is extremely vague." Id., at 234. The court rejected the BFOQ defense concluding that "using these class stereotypes denies desirable positions to a great many women perfectly capable of performing the duties involved." Id., at 236. Moreover, the employer had made no showing that it was "impossible or highly impractical to deal with women on an individualized basis." Id., at 235, n. 5.