Torment and Mistreatment: How the USPS Punished Faithful Carrier Gerald Groff for His Religious Beliefs

March 24, 2023
Gerald Groff Post Office Discrimination | First Liberty Institute

by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read

We’re less than a month away from arguing our Faithful Carrier case involving Gerald Groff at the U.S. Supreme Court. Argument is set for April 18th.

If you’ve closely followed this case, you know Gerald is the postal carrier who was forced to quit his job because of his religious beliefs.

Gerald sincerely believes in honoring the Lord’s Day. Working for the U.S. Postal Service seemed like a perfect fit—until they began Sunday deliveries for Amazon. Although he went out of his way to work extra shifts to make up for Sundays, the USPS ultimately refused to grant him a religious accommodation, in direct violation of federal civil rights law. Facing a choice between his job and his faith, he had no choice but to resign.

Gerald was wrongfully forced out of his job. But many people don’t know about the retaliation and harassment he endured before deciding to leave the postal service.

USPS disciplined, created hostile working conditions and subjected Gerald to harsh treatment over his religious beliefs for two years. During that time, USPS subjected him to eight separate “pre-disciplinary interviews,” a “Letter of Warning,” and two separate suspensions totaling 21 days.

His postmaster treated him with hostility. He assigned Gerald more work than other carriers, required him to work longer hours and forced him to deliver mail in severe snowstorms, while other carriers weren’t made to do so. His supervisor also offered help to other carriers with loading and delivering parcels, but never offering any assistance to Gerald.

On top of that, Gerald’s pay was docked without justification and his requests for leave to attend family weddings were denied. His supervisor even mocked Gerald’s appearance and made derogatory comments, including loudly comparing him to someone who had been arrested for sexual deviancy.

Gerald says that his supervisor physically cornered him several times, confronting him about whether he would be working that Sunday. On one occasion, as Gerald loaded packages on his vehicle, his supervisor told him the “post office is thinking about making an example of you.” Gerald says it felt like he was being “tormented” at work, especially living with fear and uncertainty until his last day on the job.

Watch the video below, as Gerald shares more about what he went through:

What happened to Gerald is outrageous and wrong. No one in America’s marketplace or the workforce should be treated the way he was. Imagine if you—or your children and grandchildren—had to go to work each day, fearing that you might be ridiculed, rebuked or fired just for wanting to work in a manner consistent with your faith. Subjecting people of faith to such hostile and vindictive actions makes a mockery of our laws that protect against religious discrimination.

Under the federal Civil Rights Act, employers have a legal obligation not to discriminate or retaliate against workers on the basis of religion. The law states employers must accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees when it does not pose an undue hardship on the employer. Additionally, the law provides that employers may not create a hostile work environment on the basis of religion and must protect employees from anti-religious harassment.

America has a long history of protecting religious employees from being treated unfairly. They simply should not be reduced to second-class citizens when they’re at work.

There’s a lot at stake with the Faithful Carrier case. It’s a tremendous opportunity for our nation’s highest court to reexamine a poorly reasoned case from the 1970s that tips the balance in favor of corporations and the government over the religious rights of employees. The legal issues could not only impact Gerald, but also every religious person and their legal protections in the workplace.

Our April 18th court date is quickly approaching, and First Liberty is really counting on your support. Giving today can make a tremendous difference. Please help us secure a victory for Gerald at the Supreme Court.

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