SCOTUS to hear postal religious discrimination case

The Supreme Courtroom is being requested to determine underneath what circumstances companies should accommodate the wants of non secular workers.

A case earlier than the justices Tuesday includes a Christian mail provider in rural Pennsylvania. He was informed that as a part of his job he’d want to begin delivering Amazon.com packages on Sundays. He declined, saying his Sundays are for church and household. U.S. Postal Service officers initially tried to get substitutes for the person’s shifts, however they couldn’t at all times. When he didn’t present, that meant extra work for others. In the end, the person stop and sued for non secular discrimination.

The case is the newest non secular confrontation the excessive courtroom has been requested to referee. In recent times, the courtroom’s 6-3 conservative majority has been notably delicate to the considerations of non secular plaintiffs. That features a ruling final yr wherein the courtroom mentioned a public highschool soccer coach must be allowed to wish on the sector after video games. One other case the courtroom is weighing this time period includes a Christian graphic artist who needs to create marriage ceremony web sites, however doesn’t need to serve homosexual {couples}.

A federal regulation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, requires employers to accommodate workers’ non secular practices except doing so can be an “undue hardship” for the enterprise. However a Supreme Courtroom case from 1977, Trans World Airways v. Hardison, says employers can deny non secular lodging to workers after they impose “greater than a de minimis value” on the enterprise.

Three present justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — have mentioned the courtroom ought to rethink the Hardison case.

The case presently earlier than the courtroom includes Gerald Groff, a former worker of the U.S. Postal Service in Pennsylvania’s Amish Nation. For years, Groff was a fill-in mail provider who labored on days when different mail carriers have been off.

However when an Amazon.com contract with the Postal Service required carriers to begin delivering packages on Sundays, Groff balked. Initially, to keep away from the shifts, Groff transferred to a extra rural publish workplace not but doing Sunday deliveries, however ultimately that publish workplace was required to do them too.

Every time Groff was scheduled on a Sunday, one other provider needed to work or his spot went unfilled. Officers mentioned Groff’s absences created a tense atmosphere and contributed to morale issues. It additionally meant different carriers needed to ship extra Sunday mail than they in any other case would.

Groff resigned in 2019 reasonably than wait to be fired, he mentioned, after which filed a spiritual discrimination lawsuit. Groff needs the Supreme Courtroom to overrule the Hardison case and to say that employers should present “vital issue or expense” in the event that they need to reject a spiritual lodging.

Biden administration attorneys representing the Postal Service, nonetheless, say Hardison shouldn’t be overruled however as a substitute clarified to clarify it provides substantial safety for non secular observance. The administration additionally says that — as in Groff’s case — when an worker requests a spiritual lodging that negatively impacts different employees, that may be an undue hardship on the enterprise.

The case is Groff v. DeJoy, 22-174.

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