From the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM):
“Gerald Groff, a former postal worker, sued the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for failing to accommodate his religious practice. Groff is an evangelical Christian who observes a Sunday Sabbath, meaning he doesn't work on that day. Although the USPS does not deliver mail on Sundays, it does have a contract to deliver packages for Amazon, which includes Sunday deliveries. The USPS sought co-workers to voluntarily cover Groff's Sunday shifts and imposed progressive discipline for his absences. Eventually, Groff resigned.”
He lost his lawsuit twice, with lower courts ruling that the Postal Service accommodating his Sunday off would cause undue hardship for his employer and co-workers. However, the Supreme Court had a different perspective.
Justice Alito wrote: “A hardship that is attributable to employee animosity towards a particular religion, to religion in general, or to the very notion of accommodating religious practice, cannot be considered undue. Bias or hostility towards a religious practice or accommodation cannot supply a defense.”
Employers, take note: Your bar for religious accommodation may have just been raised significantly.
Delve into the intricate world of employment law with our guest, Jennifer Wasserman, an authority in the field, as we dissect landmark decisions and their profound implications for religious accommodation in the workplace. Ever wondered how the 1964 Civil Rights Act is interpreted in the context of religious accommodation? You're about to get the details.
In this insightful discussion, Jennifer and your affable, unique host Bob Sewell analyze the Supreme Court case of Groff v. United States Postal Service, revealing the layers of legal expectations for employers. We also highlight the role of seniority systems in shift changes and the concept of 'reasonable accommodation.'