Diaz v. Pan American World Airways, Inc.
442 F.2d 385 (5th Cir. 1971)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
TUTTLE, Circuit Judge:
This appeal presents the important question of whether Pan American Airlines' refusal to hire ap-
pellant and his class of males solely on the basis of their sex violates § 703(a)(1) of Title VII of
the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Because we feel that being a female is not a “bona fide occupational
qualification” for the job of flight cabin attendant, appellee's refusal to hire appellant's class
solely because of their sex, does constitute a violation of the Act.
The facts in this case are not in dispute. Celio Diaz applied for a job as flight cabin attendant
with Pan American Airlines in 1967. He was rejected because Pan Am had a policy of restricting
its hiring for that position to females. He then filed charges with the Equal Employment Oppor-
tunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Pan Am had unlawfully discriminated against him on
the grounds of sex. The Commission found probable cause to believe his charge, but was unable
to resolve the matter through conciliation with Pan Am. Diaz next filed a class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of himself and others
similarly situated, alleging that Pan Am had violated Section 703 of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by
refusing to employ him on the basis of his sex; he sought an injunction and damages.
Pan Am admitted that it had a policy of restricting its hiring for the cabin attendant position to fe-
males. Thus, both parties stipulated that the primary issue for the District Court was whether, for
the job of flight cabin attendant, being a female is a “bona fide occupational qualification (here-
after BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation” of Pan American's business.
The trial court found that being a female was a BFOQ, D.C., 311 F.Supp. 559. Before discussing
its findings in detail, however, it is necessary to set forth the framework within which we view
Section 703(a) of the 1964 Civil Rights Act provides, in part:
(a) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer- (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to
discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race,
color, religion, sex or national origin. . . .
The scope of this section is qualified by § 703(e) which states:
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, (1) it shall not be an unlawful em-
ployment practice for an employer to hire and employ employees . . .
on the basis of his religion,
sex, or national origin in those certain instances where religion, sex, or national origin is a bona
fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular
business or enterprise. . . .