On Friday, the US Supreme Court decided to take up a dispute regarding workplace religious accommodations.
Gerald Groff, an Evangelical postal worker who insisted on keeping Sundays as his day of rest, filed an appeal in the case of Groff v. Dejoy. Groff even went so far as to offer to work make-up shifts and switch branches to uphold his right to a day of rest.
The Pennsylvanian man claims that in 2019, due to the U.S. placing this load on him, he was made to leave his employment.
Following the service’s partnership with Amazon, which introduced Sunday deliveries, the Postal Service will frequently locate replacements.
This was deemed insufficient by the Postal Service, and numerous disciplinary procedures were brought against him.
Groff, who was about to be fired, decided to resign.
The appeal asks the high court to overturn a 1977 decision in the Trans World Airlines v. Hardison case, which held that public and private companies cannot be obliged to shoulder more than a minimal cost under a federal job discrimination rule.
Employers are required to respect their employees’ religious convictions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as revised in 1972 unless doing so would result in “undue hardship.”
Nat Lewin, a constitutional expert, wrote an amicus curiae “friend of the court” brief submitted on behalf of Agudath Israel of America and other Orthodox Jewish groups by the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA).
According to Lewin, “changes in American society and an understanding of the Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution] justify rejection and repudiation today of a legal rule that perpetrates great injustice and harm on Jewish, Moslem, and Seventh-Day Adventist members of America’s workforce.”
According to the brief, the Hardison decision makes it more challenging for religious employees to get lawful accommodations than it is for those who do so on the basis of their age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or paternity.
The struggle for Sabbath observance must be noted in any account of American Jewry, according to Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudah.
We implore the Supreme Court to correct this and safeguard the religious liberties of Americans in the workplace.
Numerous persons have given up or even lost employment prospects for occupations for which they were highly qualified due to the Hardison decision.
Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl, a Barack Obama appointee, stated that Groff had gotten treatment on par with other employees and that Sunday delivery was essential to the Postal Service’s operations when Groff’s case was heard in U.S. district court.
In the US, Groff likewise came up short. Appellate Court for the Third Circuit.
According to Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center, God established the Sabbath day, which is essential to many religions.
“No one should have to break the Sabbath to work.”
The Groff case will be considered in the upcoming term after the Supreme Court declined to take up comparable issues in former years.
Several sitting justices have publicly backed the expansion of religious freedoms. Since the high court’s last rejection of a religious worker’s rights issue, the court has recruited Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative justice with a strong Catholic heritage.
In a public speech this summer, Justice Samuel Alito made the contentious assertion that religious freedom is “under siege” in the United States because people don’t value religion highly enough to provide it special protection.
In a 77-page concurring op-ed published in a case last year, Alito argued that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause demanded greater protection for religion from the state than case law at the time.
Justice Neil Gorsuch overturned decades of precedent on religion and state when he wrote the majority judgment in a case last year supporting a public high school football coach who claims he was fired for praying in public at midfield.
Maine must pay to subsidize tuition at some religious schools, according to a 2022 majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Justice Clarence Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch have argued that the high court should consider Hardison’s decision.
The country’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), joined the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in filing an amicus brief in September.
“I grew up hearing stories about Jews having to find a new job every Sunday because no firm would maintain a Jewish worker who respected the Sabbath,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the Orthodox Union at the time.
Diament continued, “Americans shouldn’t have to choose between their career and their conscience, whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or of any other religion.”
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Donald Trump appointee still in office under Joe Biden, is the named respondent in Groff v. DeJoy.