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Former USPS Worker Disciplined for Refusing to Focus on Sundays Appeals Case to Supreme Court

A former U.S. postal worker has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court following a circuit court ruled that the U.S. Postal Service didn’t need to accept the employee’s request to be off on Sundays due to his Christian faith.

In accordance with The Christian Post, the appeal was filed by First Liberty Institute, the Church State Council, the Independence Law Center and Baker Botts LLP with respect to Gerald Groff.

The appeal argues that the ruling by way of a three-judge panel for the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Groff’s religious beliefs. Title VII, the appeal says, “generally prohibits an employer from discriminating against an in- dividual ‘because of such individual’s religion.’ 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(1), (2).”

The appeal further notes that “The statute defines ‘religion’ to add ‘all areas of religious observance and practice, and also belief, unless an employer demonstrates he struggles to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.’ Id. 2000e(j).”

Later, the appeal urges the court to reconsider the 1977 Trans World Airlines, Inc.v.Hardisondecision,which declared “that employers could deny religious accommodations that impose ‘more when compared to a de minimis cost.'”

“In affirming summary judgment for USPS, the court of appeals held an employer may establish undue hardship merely by showing an accommodation burdens or inconveniences the plaintiff’s co-workers,” the appeal adds.

“Because religious expression is really a vital section of ‘a pluralistic society,’ it must be met with tolerance and accommodation, not silenced by way of a ‘heckler’s veto,'” it continued.

First Liberty Senior Counsel Stephanie Taub argued in a statement that “no American ought to be forced to select between their religion and their job.”

She continued, “We have been asking the Court to overturn a poorly-reasoned case from the 1970s that tips the total amount and only corporations and the federal government on the religious rights of employees.”

Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center added, “Observing the Sabbath day is crucial to numerous faithsa day ordained by God. No-one ought to be forced to violate the Sabbath to carry employment.”

As Christian Headlines previously reported, Groff an Evangelical Christian was allegedly forced to resign from his mail carrier job with the USPS in 2019 after his religious exemption was revoked and he began consistently missing work shifts.

Groff first began doing work for the USPS in 2012. Once the post office made a decision to partner with Amazon in 2015, requiring mail carriers to provide packages on Sundays, Groff requested and was granted a religious exemption. Groff would cover other shifts through the week and on Saturdays in trade to be off on Sundays.

His exemption was discontinued after he used in the Holtwood, Pennsylvania office in July 2018. Groff started to face increased disciplinary actions at the job for refusing to focus on Sundays, and finally, he resigned from his position and sued the postoffice for discrimination.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl initially dismissed Groff’s suit in April 2021. Schmehl argued that Groff hadn’t successfully shown he was “treated differently in relation to Sundays because he was a Christian.”

Then in-may, after appealing the case, a three-judge panel for the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that the USPS could force Groff to focus on Sundays.

Related:

Appeals Court Rules against Christian Postal Employee Who Sued the USPS for Requiring Him to Focus on Sundays

Christian Postal Worker Sues USPS after Being Fired for Refusing to Work Sundays

Photo courtesy: Pope Moysuh/Unsplash


Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She’s B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of theYellow Jacketnewspaper. She’s written on her behalfblogsince 2012 and contains also contributed toIBelieve.comandCrosswalk.com.

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