In a case of religious freedom that has gone to the United States Supreme Court, a former mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS) is presenting his argument that no American should have to choose between work and practicing their faith. Hearing arguments on Tuesday in this case known as Groff vs. DeJoy, Supreme Court Justices are weighing whether or not a previous decision regarding religious accommodations in the workplace still stands.
According to CBN News, Gerald Groff, the former postal worker refused to work on Sundays because of his Christian faith and his observance of the fourth Commandment to remember the Sabbath. Groff, who worked in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, originally opted to work for the Postal Service because they did not deliver mail on Sundays. However, once that changed and the Postal Service began delivering packages for Amazon on Sundays, Groff requested a religious accommodation so that he could still engage in his religious observance. Initially, the Postal Service accommodated his request, but once that changed, he was threatened with “disciplinary action” and he left the USPS.
Groff’s Attorney, Aaron Streett, argued that “there’s no reason religious workers should receive lesser protection than those covered by other accommodation statutes.” However, the case being presented by the Biden administration is the “interpretation of an ‘undue hardship’ on an employer. A 1977 SCOTUS ruling known as Hardison established that employers don’t have to meet religious accommodations if there is even a minimal burden on the business.”
U.S. Solicitor-General Elizabeth Prelogar is arguing that Groff’s absence created hardship for the Postal Service, and negatively impacted other mail carriers who needed to take on extra hours leading two to quit and one to file a union grievance.
Standing firm in his beliefs and his decision, Groff is confident that the Justices will stand with him while deliberating over this case. His attorneys are also optimistic, considering that three Justices on the Supreme Court have signaled that they will revisit the Hardison decision and the 6-3 conservative majority on the Court means religious liberty may be favored in such cases. The decision in Groff vs. DeJoy is expected before the end of June.