To quote Mel Brooks: “Now what’ll that asshole think of next?”
To be fair, some of these rules do need to be clarified or modified. Case in point:
“In New York, a lawsuit alleges that a large apartment complex in Queens will not rent to anyone with a criminal record, and that this has the effect of discriminating against African American and Latino renters. The suit is pending, relying on disparate impact to make the case.”
In my opinion the principle of “disparate impact” needs to be overridden by the same BFQ rules that apply in employment law. For example, if I am hiring an actor to play Louis XIV as a teenager, I am allowed to discriminate against minorities and women and old people and post a casting call for young white males only. If I am hiring somebody who needs to be able to reach shelves eight feet in the air without assistance, I am allowed to specify that, even though it discriminates against women, who are shorter than men on average. That is called a “bona fide occupational qualification.” Bona fide qualifications should apply elsewhere as well. A landlord not wanting to rent to people who have defaulted on previous rental agreements, or who have broken into other people’s homes, or who have molested children, seems like a bona fide qualification to me, even if it would disproportionately affect minorities. (Just hypothetically. I have no idea whether it would affect any group more than others.)
However, BFQs should have to be defended in court if challenged, to prevent landlords, employers and others from establishing bogus qualifications for the sole or primary purpose of discrimination.