On Thursday, June 29, 2023, the United States Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for religious freedom and workplace Sabbath accommodation.
In the case of Groff v. Dejoy, postal worker Gerald Groff requested that his employer, the United States Postal Service, not schedule him to work on Sundays, his day of worship. At the time, the Postal Service had entered into a contract with Amazon to provide delivery service on Sundays in Groff's postal region.
The Postal Service declined to accommodate Groff's request for his sincerely-held religious observance, and ultimately terminated his employment. He then sued the Postal Service for religious discrimination. The case climbed all the way to the highest court in the land.
In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act requires an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious observance unless the burden of granting the accommodation would result in a substantial cost to the employer or business. The previous standard was if the employer suffered a "de minimis" cost or effort, the religious-based request did not require accommodation.
The North Pacific Union, together with the North American Division and General Conference, played an active role in this case. NPUC's public affairs and religious liberty department, as well as the NPUC office of general counsel, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Groff.
This key decision will provide our church members — and people of all faiths — with heightened legal protection from religious workplace discrimination and the right to observe the Sabbath.
Nevertheless, we must continue to be vigilant. The NPUC public affairs and religious liberty department will continue to assist and advocate for religious freedom in the federal, state and local levels.