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06/29/2023 United States (International Christian Concern) ––The Supreme Court broadened religious accommodations in the workplace in a unanimous ruling Thursday.  

Gerald Groff, an evangelical Christian man and former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee, quit his job and sued the USPS after it began requiring him to work on Sundays on grounds of religious discrimination. 

“I hope this decision allows others to be able to maintain their convictions without living in fear of losing their jobs because of what they believe,” said Groff after the Supreme Court made the ruling. 

The Court ruled that employers must “reasonably accommodate” workers’ religions and not just “assess the reasonableness of a particular possible accommodation or accommodations.”  

In his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, We think it is enough to say that an employer must show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.” 

After eight years of mission work, Groff found a career at the USPS and, for four years, had very few issues with the interaction between his faith and his occupation since mail was historically not delivered on Sundays. It was only after Amazon contracted USPS to deliver their packages that Groff was told he had to work every day of the week. 

“We really can’t go back and change what happened to me, but other people shouldn’t have to choose between their job and their faith,” said Groff. 

Groff’s case had been seen by several judges before reaching the Supreme Court in April. The judges considered Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to accommodate the religious practice of their employees unless doing so would impose an “undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.” 

Also under consideration was a previous ruling made in relation to this Title entitled Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 432 U. S. 63, 84 (1977), which interpreted “undue hardship” as meaning any effort or cost that is “more than . . . de minimis.” 

The Supreme Court considered what the exact meaning of “undue hardship” as well as the “de minimis,” examining what qualifications are necessary to meet each of these terms.  

With the Supreme Court’s justices holding a 6-3 conservative majority, issues of religious freedom in the United States have received increased importance in recent years. Cases such as the issue of a football coach wanting to pray on the field caused the court to be split, and others, like the upholding of a cross-shaped monument, resulted in widespread agreement amongst all justices.  

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