An appeals court has ruled against a Christian postal worker who filed a lawsuit against USPS over their requirement to work on Sundays.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday has ruled against a former U.S. postal worker, who sued the USPS for requiring him to work on the Lord's Day. Gerald Groff, a Christian postal worker from Pennsylvania was allegedly forced to resign from his USPS job after frequently missing work shifts/ In 2020, he filed a lawsuit against USPS under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. At the time, U.S. Postal Service announced it had partnered with Amazon, after which Groff said his employer began to require him to work on Sundays.
Court documents showed that the only way Groff could not go to work on the Lord's Day was by swapping shifts with other USPS employees. Circuit Court Judge Patty Shwartz wrote in the decision that meeting Groff's request to not come to work on Sundays "would cause an undue hardship" for the USPS. The ruling stated, "Exempting Groff from working on Sundays...imposed on his coworkers, disrupted the workplace and workflow, and diminished employee morale."
Christian Postal Worker Claims He was Discriminated Against Based on His Religious Beliefs
Groff's filing said that the Christian postal worker was "needlessly disciplined" about his absences and changing shifts, the Christian Headlines reported. Groff eventually resigned from his role at the USPS and filed a lawsuit against the agency. The lawsuit sought to reinstate the Christian postal worker with accommodations to be made for his religious exemption to the rule that employees must work even on Sundays. He also sought for back pay for the time following his alleged forced resignation, as well as an undisclosed amount for "emotional damages."
On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Hardiman issued a partial dissent, in which he argued that "a conflict had to be totally eliminated to result in reasonable accommodation under Title VII." He added, "Inconvenience to Groff's coworkers alone doesn't constitute undue hardship. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stayed Gerald Groff from the completion of his appointed rounds."
Judge Hardiman argued that Groff's sincerely held religious beliefs "precluded him from working on Sundays" and that the USPS has not demonstrated that it could accommodate the Christian Postal worker's Sabbatarian religious practice without the business suffering "undue hardship," which was why he had to "respectfully dissent," CBN News reported.
Christian Postal Worker's Attorney Highlights Importance of Religious Freedom
David Crossett, one of the Christian postal worker's attorneys, argued that punishing someone for their sincerely held beliefs contradicts the very foundation of religious freedom. He added that "in a free and respectful society," government agencies such as the USPS must "recognize" the differences in people instead of "punishing" those differences, especially if they are about one's religious beliefs.