Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc

In Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U.S. 187, 111 S.Ct. 1196, 113 L.Ed.2d 158 (1991), the employer had a policy barring all female employees, except those who were infertile, from performing jobs that exposed them to lead. The employer said its policy was designed not to reinforce negative gender stereotypes but to protect female employees' unborn children against the risk of birth defects. Id., at 191, 111 S.Ct. 1196. The argument did not prevail. The plan discriminated on its face on the basis of sex, and the employer did not establish a bona fide occupational qualification defense. As a result, the Court held that the restriction violated Title VII. "The absence of a malevolent motive did not convert a facially discriminatory plan into a neutral policy with a discriminatory effect." Id., at 199, 111 S.Ct. 1196.