Supreme Court Asked To Review Major Religious Case 

( A one-time letter carrier at the U.S. Postal Service has petitioned the Supreme Court to take up his case, in which he believes that he shouldn’t have to choose between earning a living and worshiping God on Sundays. 

Gerald Groff, the plaintiff in the case, quit his job at the USPS because he didn’t want to work on Sunday, a sabbath day for him in his Christian faith. The high court is being asked to overturned a decision from 46 years ago that said employers only have to provide employees accommodations as long as there is no “undue hardship” placed on that employer in doing so. 

Groff first started working for the USPS back in 2012. AFter seven years in his position, he quit because the USPS started requiring him to work on Sundays. This was part of the agency’s agreement with Amazon to deliver packages to customers on that day. 

According to his lawsuit, Groff claims that the USPS didn’t accommodate the request he made to not work on Sundays. In filing that request, he quoted the Fourth Commandment that’s in the Bible verse Exodus 20:8, which says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” 

In addition to not receiving accommodations for his request, Groff claims that at the USPS, he endured various “harsh treatment” because of his Christian beliefs. He said he suffered “two years of progressive discipline, hostile working conditions” as well as uncertainty since he believed he could be fired any day that he went into work. 

In January of 2019, he finally stepped away from his position. Now, he’s suing the USPS so that he can reclaim his job while also receiving the religious accommodation that he originally requested. 

The USPS won the decision in the case at both the district court level as well as with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Both courts ruled that if the USPS would be required to meet Groff’s accommodations, it would place “undue hardship” on the agency.  

The appeals court added that the accommodation isn’t required in cases where meeting it might “harm employee morale.” 

Over the last few years, the Supreme Court has denied other requests to take on cases that related to religious accommodations with employers. This time, though, the high court decided to take on the case to rule whether Groff is protected in his claims by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

That act prohibits discrimination of employment based on religious beliefs, including “all aspects of religious observance and practice” unless the “undue hardship” is created by the worker being accommodated. 

The Supreme Court made a ruling in 1977 in the case of Trans World Airlines v Hardison, which ultimately “gutted Title VII’s vital protections,” Groff’s attorneys are claiming. 

The Supreme Court will take up the case this spring, with oral argument currently scheduled to begin on April 18.