by Mia Gradick • 5 min read
Our argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in our Faithful Carrier case is only about a month away. As our day in court approaches, more and more Americans are coming together to support our client Gerald Groff in this important legal fight.
We’re happy to announce that 34 friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs were recently filed at the nation’s highest court supporting Gerald’s case. A diverse coalition of major national organizations and leaders are taking a stand for his rights, including:
This broad showing of support for Gerald highlights how vital this case is for religious liberty. It’s clear that many Americans recognize the huge implications it could have for every religious person in the workplace.
The Faithful Carrier case focuses on USPS denying Gerald Groff a religious accommodation to observe the Sunday Sabbath. However, the case is much broader in its implications, possibly protecting religious beliefs of all Christians at work, as well as the religious beliefs of the Jewish and other faiths.
State Attorneys General, for example, argue in their brief that “Religious minorities—people who seek to worship their own God, in their own way, and on their own time” are often the ones most “adversely affected” in the workplace. They point to a poorly reasoned case from the 1970’s, Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, which tips the balance in favor of employers over the religious rights of employees. They explain that this case has led to religious exemption claims “proven dead on arrival” and “employer[s] [making] no attempt to accommodate.” Their brief adds:
“Accommodating religious observance and practice is well worth it. Religious accommodation makes for a better workforce for both employees and employers…Religious respect shouldn’t disappear over concerns of a few dollars and cents.”
Several minority faith organizations submitted a brief arguing that “religious minorities will continue to face the ‘cruel choice of surrendering their religion or their job’ unless this Court corrects Hardison’s misinterpretation of Title VII.” Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act states that companies cannot retaliate against employees because of their religious beliefs and practices. The law requires employers to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees when it does not pose an undue hardship on the employer.
Seventh Day Adventist and Jewish groups—for whom Saturday Sabbath observance is a core part of their religious traditions—also filed briefs. They argue the current legal test “has gutted workplace protections for religious minorities and has subordinated employees’ sincere religious exercise to employers’ desire to minimize inconvenience and cost.” They urge the Court to “overturn Hardison and restore the plain meaning of Title VII, which requires employers to accommodate employees’ religious exercise absent significant difficulty or expense.”
The brief submitted by members of Congress doesn’t mince words. They urge the Supreme Court to “correct its error before any more persons of faith, like Gerald Groff, are forced to decide between their job and their God.”
These briefs are important steps forward in getting Gerald closer to victory. But there’s still a lot of work ahead of us over the next month. Our attorneys are working diligently to make sure our arguments are razor-sharp.
The clock is ticking for our April 18th argument. There’s a lot at stake with this case and Gerald is really counting on us. Please donate today to help us secure a victory for Gerald—and for religious workers of all faiths—at the Supreme Court.