The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a former United States Postal Service worker who filed a suit in the Third Court of Appeals, alleging that the USPS refused to accommodate his request to avoid working on Sundays due to his religious beliefs. The appeals court ruled that the USPS is not required to provide religious accommodations for employees if it would cause “undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.” The Supreme Court will review the case and determine if businesses are constitutionally required to provide reasonable religious accommodations for employees.
“Observing the Sabbath day is critical to many faiths—a day ordained by God. No one should be forced to violate the Sabbath to hold a job,” said Randall Wenger, a member of the Independence Law Center who is representing the complainant, Gerald Groff.
Groff’s grievance with the USPS dates back to when the postal service began delivering packages for Amazon on Sundays. Groff originally chose to work for the USPS in part because he knew he would have Sundays off.
With the addition of Amazon services on Sundays, Groff chose loyalty to his faith over seniority with the USPS and decided to be relocated to another location that did not require employees to work on Sunday. However, it was only a matter of time until his new branch began delivering on Sundays as well.
He requested a religious accommodation to observe Sunday Sabbath in accordance with his faith, and while at first the Postmaster was able to modify the schedule and facilitate his request, it didn’t last long. When he had no other option but to work on Sunday or leave, he again chose his faith over his livelihood and resigned, then sued the USPS.
“It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion,” said another one of Groff’s attorneys, Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty. “It’s time for the Supreme Court to reconsider a decades old case that favors corporations and the government over the religious rights of employees.”
Groff’s attorneys argue that he was protected from religious discrimination by Title VII, and believe the court should review TWA v. Hardison, the key case used to rule against Groff in the lower courts. The case is set to be heard in the US Supreme Court on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
This is a major case to watch and pray for!