On Tuesday, in a major case regarding the religious freedom of workers, the Supreme Court showed sympathy towards conservative postal worker Gerald Groff, a Christian living in rural Pennsylvania. Groff had been forced to deliver packages on Sundays after megacorporation Amazon signed a contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver packages throughout the week.
Previously, USPS did not require Groff to work on Sundays, but the change due to Amazon left the postal worker unable to meet his religious obligations. USPS was unwilling or unable to provide the necessary accommodation to assist Groff, and he had no choice but to resign and sue the company for religious discrimination.
The case focuses on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” to respect a worker’s religious beliefs. Gerald Groff’s attorney, Arthur Streett, argued that the 1977 Supreme Court precedent interpreting “undue hardship” as “more than a de minimis cost” is too low a bar for employers, leaving workers with inadequate protections for their religious beliefs.
Justice Neil Gorsuch argued against the “de minimis” standard, stating that such an approach is not sensible and does not align with the purpose of civil rights legislation. Gorsuch stated that “laws are not meant to be trifling.”
A significant question raised during the proceedings concerned whether employers face “undue hardship” when co-workers bear the burden of fulfilling an accommodation. Justice Elena Kagan posed a hypothetical scenario in which the preferences of workers at a small grocery store could be disrupted due to the religious observance of a co-worker.
The Supreme Court’s liberal members were hostile in their questioning, while conservative judges, such as Amy Coney Barrett, pressed for greater clarification from Groff’s attorney regarding what constitutes an “undue hardship” on a company. Gorsuch categorically stated that civil rights laws should not be trifling.
Strangely, President Joe Biden, a self-professed “devout Catholic” who purports to defend workers, is standing against Groff and in support of the USPS. If Groff were requesting affirmation of his preferred gender pronouns, then Biden may have handled his case differently.
Supreme Court Weighs Overturning Decades-Long Precedent That Curtailed Religious Freedom In Workplace: by Katelynn Richardson at CDN –
The Supreme Court weighed whether the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) must accommodate a Christian mail carrier’s… https://t.co/TQxzpJfLwg
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It is worth noting that Groff failed to win in both federal district court and the 3rd Circuit Appeals Court, where one judge warned about the possibility of “disgruntled employees” being granted a “heckler’s veto” over religious rights. A ruling by the Supreme Court is expected in June 2022.
Source: Conservative Institute