Religious Accommodation in the Workplace: Should Employers be Mandated to Provide Sundays Off?
Our first amendment covers our right to freedom of religion, but does it give the right to be exempt from working Sundays? The US Supreme Court is hearing a case brought by Gerald Groff, a former rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS), who claims that USPS denied his request for a religious accommodation to not work on Sundays. Groff’s religious beliefs prohibit him from working on Sundays, but in 2013, USPS contracted with an online retailer for Sunday package deliveries, leaving Groff unable to find cover for his Sunday shifts. Although USPS attempted to find other carriers to work in Groff’s place, it often failed due to a shortage of rural carriers. USPS ultimately refused Groff’s request for an exemption from Sunday work, citing undue hardship. The agency instituted progressive discipline against Groff for missing his Sunday shifts, leading to his eventual resignation in 2019. For more information, Lars speaks with Stephanie Taub an attorney with the First Liberty Institute.