Supreme Court Sides with Christian Post Office Worker Who Wanted Sundays Off

Tags: Currents Religious Freedom, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision June 29, the Supreme Court sided with a Christian mail carrier who had been required to work Sundays for the U.S. Postal Service against his religious beliefs that the day was one of worship and rest.

The 9-0 ruling threw out a lower federal court’s ruling that had sided with the Postal Service and rejected the former mail carrier’s claim that requiring him to work on Sundays violated federal anti-discrimination law.

The lower court ruling on this case, by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, said that absences by the Pennsylvania employee, Gerald Groff, placed too much of a hardship on his co-workers and his employer.

But the nation’s highest court, in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, ordered the 3rd Circuit to reconsider the case, stressing that the employer must “show that the burden of granting an accommodation” has “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.”

In its ruling, the court overturned its 1977 decision that said employers had to “reasonably accommodate” an employee’s religious beliefs and practices, so long as it did not create an “undue hardship” on the business.

Based on this decision, it could now be easier for employees to obtain religious accommodation in the workplace.