News World Gerald Graf: Supreme Court hears appeal of postal worker who didn’t work...

Gerald Graf: Supreme Court hears appeal of postal worker who didn’t work on Sunday in religious accommodation dispute

(CNN) The Supreme Court on Tuesday will face a major controversy over religious freedom that may ultimately clarify how far employers must go to accommodate their employees’ religious beliefs.

Gerald Groff, who lives in Pennsylvania, worked as an associate rural carrier for the US Postal Service in 2012, providing coverage for off-duty employees who may take weekends off. It is said that rural running companions need flexibility.

In 2013, Groff’s life changed when USPS struck a deal with Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays. Groff’s Christian religious beliefs prevent him from working on Sundays.

The post office considered some accommodations, such as offering to adjust Graf’s schedule so he could go to work after church services or seeing if other employees could fill his shifts. At one point, it was hard to find employees willing to work on Sundays, so the postmaster himself made the deliveries. Finally, the USPS suggested choosing a different day to observe the Groff Sabbath.

The atmosphere with his colleagues was tense, and Groff said he faced creeping discipline. In response, he filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on religion.

Groff finally left in 2019. In his resignation letter, he said he could not find “an employment situation with the USPS that respected his religious beliefs.”

Groff sued the USPS for violating Title VII, a federal law that makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their religion. To file a claim under the Act, an employee must show that he has a bona fide religious belief that conflicts with a job requirement, inform his employer, and be penalized for not complying.

Under the Act, the burden is shifted to the employer. The employer must show that it made a good faith effort to “reasonably accommodate” the employee’s beliefs or show that such an accommodation would cause an “undue hardship” on the employer.

District Judge Jeffrey Schmel was appointed by former President Barack Obama. ruled against Groff. His request to not work on Sundays would cause the USPS “undue hardship.”

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the ruling 2-1 comment.

“Groff’s exemption from working on Sundays caused more than minimal cost to the USPS because it actually overwhelmed his co-workers, disrupted the workplace and workflow, and lowered employee morale,” the Third wrote. Circuit in his opinion last year.

“Graff’s requested accommodation (exemption from Sunday work),” the court added, “would cause USPS undue hardship.”

The dissenting judge, Thomas Hardiman, offered a road map for judges seeking to rule in Groff’s favor. The main point of his dissent was that the USPS had to show how the proposed accommodation would hurt “businesses,” not Groff’s co-workers.

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor darkness of night prevented Gerald Graff from completing his assigned rounds,” wrote George W. Bush’s candidate, Hardiman, wrote. Short list for Supreme Court appointment He went to Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017. “But his sincere religious faith prevented him from working on Sundays.”

Groff’s attorney, Aaron Street, told the high court that the USPS could have done more and that it was wrong to say it was “too difficult to honor Groff’s faith.” He urged the judges to lower the precedent or allow an accommodation that was invalid and allowed the worker to “serve both his employer and his God.”

“Sunday is the day we get together and almost get a taste of heaven,” Graf said. The New York Times Recently. “We come together as believers. We celebrate who we are together. We worship God. So asking Amazon to deliver packages and leave everything behind is very sad.”

The Biden administration has urged the high court to simply clarify the law, saying it “does not require an employee to suit an employee’s holiday party” to “protect substitute workers with shorthand or regular hourly pay.” extra”.

However, Attorney General Elizabeth Preloger agreed that the employer would still have to bear other costs, such as administrative costs associated with rescheduling.

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