Supreme Court takes up Christian postal worker's religious claim
By: Lawrence Hurley (NBC News)
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an evangelical Christian mail carrier's employment discrimination claim in a case that could force employers to do more to accommodate the religious practices of their workers.
The justices will hear an appeal brought by Gerald Groff, who says the U.S. Postal Service could have granted his request that he be spared Sunday shifts based on his religious belief that it is a day of worship and rest.
Groff has asked the court to make it easier for employees to bring religious claims under Title VII of the Civil Right Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination of various forms, including based on religion.
Groff worked as an auxiliary mailman in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area from 2012 to 2019, when he resigned. A noncareer employee, his job was to fill in when other workers were not available, including on weekends and holidays.
Initially he was not asked work on Sundays, but the situation began to change in 2015 due to the requirement that Amazon packages be delivered on that day. Based on his request for an accommodation, his managers arranged for other postal workers to deliver packages on Sundays until July 2018. After that, Groff faced disciplinary actions if he did not report to work.
Upon resigning, he sued the Postal Service for failing to accommodate his request. A federal judge said that the Postal Service had provided a reasonable accommodation and that offering anything more than that would cause undue hardship to the employer and his co-workers. The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in a May 2022 ruling.
Groff is asking the justices to reassess what constitutes "undue hardship" under Title VII, saying that the approach imposed by a 1977 Supreme Court ruling called Trans World Airlines v. Hardison is not sufficiently favorable to employees and allows religious needs to be supplanted by the interests of employers. In the earlier ruling, the court said that employers are not required to make accommodation if it would impose even a minimal burden.
The court in 2020, when it had a 5-4 conservative majority, declined to hear a similar case involving an employee at a Walgreens call center who, as a Seventh Day Adventist, requested that he not work on Saturday, which is that Christian denomination's day of rest.
Three of the conservative justices, however, issued a statement at the time saying they were open to the idea of revisiting the 1977 ruling's definition of "undue hardship." Soon after that case was rejected, liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and then-President Donald Trump appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, creating a 6-3 conservative majority even more favorable to religious claims.
After Barrett joined the court, the justices in 2021 turned away several cases asking them to revisit the 1977 ruling, but the court has ruled in favor of religious claims in various other cases, including several in its last term, which ended in June. Among those rulings, the court ruled in favor of a public high school football coach who claimed he lost his job after leading prayers on the field after games.
simple solution. hey thumper, you knew what the job requirements were when you applied, so you're fired. go get a job at your fucking local evangelical madrasa.
I swear I made a post and it is gone. Maybe I finally lost my mind....
He knew what the job entailed. He was just lucky enough they tried to accommodate him. Then when needed he throws a fit.
Day of rest my ass. Being a temp, fill in worker, he probably sits on his ass several days a week.
I am curious as to the conservative take on this. A lot of them think that people should be able to be fired at will.
Will this man be held to that same principle or will he get a pass.
meh, bullshit like this is how thumper scum attack their abrahamic religious competitors.
I think he will lose, since he accepted the specific terms of employment....weekends and holidays. They did try to accommodate his request at first. I guess the point of the complaint is to define what an undue burden is.
In a similar vein, should Muslims be given time during their workdays for prayer? Your thoughts?
People pray during the day. If it takes them fives minutes and they do it alone, who cares.
2 breaks and a lunch during the workday should cover 3 of the 5 calls to prayer. basically, any religion that has a dress code, requires a rug, or the possession of a book to be devout, is bullshit.
the 1st amendment cuts both ways. the gov't doesn't recognize any religion over another and would tacitly condone the opposite by allowing religious dogma to influence employment laws. plenty of businesses are open on sunday, xmas, and easter and the gov't has yet to move against them.
anyone with religious requirements can practice it on their own time. they're also free to seek an employer that is willing to accommodate their religious or non-religious choices, like everyone else.
"I swear I made a post and it is gone. Maybe I finally lost my mind...."
No you didn't, unless I lost my mind as well. Comments that I have posted, and saw them actually registered before I left the site, have upon my return totally disappeared. This site is not without its glitches.
In a similar vein, should Muslims be given time during their workdays for prayer? Your thoughts?
IMO, a big fat FUCK NO. No employer should be made to accommodate any "religious" belief or practice. When you take the job you agree to work x hours on x days, or whatever shifts are agreed upon. If you can't do it then don't take the job. If you take the job and then claim you can't do it then then fuck you, you lied and are fired.
He knew what the job entailed.
He applied for, and got, a job that requires him to be available for holidays and weekends.
USPS lawyers catch him mowing his lawn on Sunday in 5... 4... 3... 2...
I had an employee years ago that claimed he injured himself on the job and wanted light duty, an easier work route. another employee let me know he was trying to game the system. after seeing this for myself, I informed the state workers compensation investigators and provided them with the address of the martial arts center he was a member of and the times of the classes he attended at night. shortly thereafter the claim and the employee went away.
In my neighborhood, we hire Hispanics to cut the grass.
If they're undocumented Hispanics, you're part of the border problem.
How would I or my neighbors know, I hired Steve's Mowing and Lawn Care and he hires his employees.
It's simple really. You ask Steve if he uses the e-verify system to confirm the work eligibility of his employees and insist that his employees are working legally.
It's simple really.
Really? And if he says, of course? Should law enforcement ask him? I can easily look up if he has a business license but not if he uses e-verify.
You could also just go to E-verify.gov and put in the name of the business. I could do it for you right now if I knew what state you're in.
Yea, He doesn't participate in the E-verify program so...You're part of the problem. How can you expect migrants to stop coming here when YOU give them jobs?
Thanks and good point. I need to become part of our enforcement authority in the absence of our government.
Yea, Congress caved to big ag and the service industry and made it "voluntary" for many businesses to participate in the program. There's also little punishment for hiring illegal people if caught so... I guess you could write your Congressman.
I guess you could write your Congressman.
Yes, I know Gerry Connolly is very pro-immigration but I don't know where he stands on E-verify.
my son's BIL and SIL are political refugees. they informed me that they both got jobs at a fast food joint while their paperwork winds it's way thru the federal immigration maze. the operator of the restaurant told them most of his employees are undocumented. none of them are actual employees. he's also paying them $3 less per hour that the usual hourly rate here, and their paycheck is a gift card. as soon as their paperwork clears the feds and they get real jobs, I'm informing the DHS of this restaurant operator.
... and while they get their fuck story going, I'll set the real dogs on him and collect an IRS bounty.
Seems like the kind of thing that should be negotiated during the hiring process and neither party should be able to unilaterally change the term of employment to the detriment of the other.
So, I don’t know what this mail carrier’s situation was when he was hired, but Sunday delivery from the USPS is a relatively new thing.
I don’t know anything about working for the post office, but it says plaintiff is a mail carrier. Would that mean working in a distribution plant?
Regardless, as I said, I think it should be a thing negotiated at hiring, and the employer shouldn’t be able to unilaterally change the terms of employment in this way.
Isn't Friday the Muslim Sabbath? I think they're going to need to tread carefully here. If he wins, there will (and should) be some Muslim postal service employees demanding similar accommodation on their holy day of rest.
... pandora's box.
my religion requires me to demand equal accommodation for myself of every other religious accommodations made for others. per the constitution, my religion is as valid and equal to every other religion in america.
Had a comment but it slipped my mind. Religion?
my religion? the church of the divine immaculate misconception. I'm it's lord and savior...
I was kinda liking this religion I saw on tv. The church of The Fonz.
I don't know if it's in the bylaws but I want off on Wednesdays.
I recently discovered the series "Lucifer", and I'm enjoying that. I hope the Concerned Women for America or whatever those busybody biddies who tried to get it cancelled call themselves need their fainting couches.
The (religion?) did not pertain to you but rather to religion itself. And the comment is still slipped somewhere.
If they give this idiot a win then the USPS needs to be prepared to give any employee any day off because religion.
I sympathize with the person and his 'holy dilemma', however a pox on him if he buys gasoline or visits the local big box hardware store on his holy day. USPS should give him his time off-------------although there are eyes, cell phone trackers, built in GPS devices in vehicles and cameras everywhere which can discern his devoutness.
If I am to understand this he is a ''temporary employee''. I'm amazed the SCOTUS would take this case.
He knew the rules when hired and was given some accommodation for a few years and then the work schedule for USPS changed, and they could no longer accommodate him.
IMO, his lawsuit is flat-out BS.
This is why I am against special privileges for religion
In mid 1970s I worked at a big rayon factory, it was continuous production process and over half the jobs were rotating shifts. Jobs were on seniority and qualifications. It was Union and paid very good. I worked with several Vietnam Vets who worked there before they were drafted and after discharge returned. They kept their seniority dates, While they were gone the plant needed more workers and had to hire some men who were not drafted for religious reasons, they also would not work on Sunday. The company needed help and that was all they could get. They were a defense contractor. and very busy then.
The Vets were not happy with the replacement workers. That the replacements were allowed to hold daylight jobs with less seniority really made them mad. The Union and the company had tried but could not do anything about it, the replacement workers would not join the Union but they got Union rep at any hearings and had a church supplied lawyer too,
That turned me against people getting special treatment.because of religion,
Religious exemptions are total bullshit. Full stop.
He should just go fill out an application at Chick-fil-A.
They do score high on customer satisfaction.
What the fuck?
So now our warped SC may give religious nutjobs their choice of talking days off despite what the business does.