Mailman fired over ‘Sabbath observance’ appeals to Supreme Court

By Bob Unruh

A former mailman whose schedule was changed by the United States Postal Service so that it conflicted with his religious Sabbath is appealing his case to the Supreme Court.

First Liberty Institute announced that it was joined by Baker Botts LLP, the Church State Council and the Independence Law Center in filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the high court on behalf of Gerald Groff.

The petition seeks a reversal of a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the USPS to abandon making a religious accommodation in Groff’s schedule.

“No American should be forced to choose between their religion and their job,” explained Stephanie Taub, a senior counsel at First Liberty. “We are asking the court to overturn a poorly reasoned case from the 1970s that tips the balance in favor of corporations and the government over the religious rights of employees.”

Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center added, “Observing the Sabbath day is critical to many faiths—a day ordained by God. No one should be forced to violate the Sabbath to hold a job.”

And Alan Reinach of the Church State Council said, “The Supreme Court needs to fix its misguided interpretation of the law that permits government and corporate employers alike to discriminate against those seeking religious accommodation for trivial reasons.”

First Liberty explained Groff started with the USPS in 2012 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as a mail carrier.

The government operation, however, soon started delivering packages on Sundays for Amazon.

“Groff asked for a religious accommodation to observe Sunday Sabbath. The postmaster initially granted his request, allowing him to work additional shifts on other days of the week instead.

But then officials changed up their requirements, insisting that Groff work on Sundays, in violation of his conscience.

Groff sued, but the district court and 3rd Circuit sided with the government, based on an old case, TWA vs. Hardison.

Groff’s lawyers are arguing that Groff was protected by Title VII from discrimination based on his religious beliefs.

WND had reported in 2021 that Groff started out at the Quarryville Post Office carrying mail to rural residences.

When the deal with Amazon came up, he sought to continue his work, and observing his faith, but the Post Office refused.

“It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on the basis of religion,” Hiram Sasser, of First Liberty, said at the time. “The USPS should have recognized Gerald’s sincerely held belief that he must observe the Sunday Sabbath and granted him a religious exemption. We must protect the rights of every American to practice their faith without fear of losing their job.”

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