Written by 9:48 am In the News

Supreme Court backs postman

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a Christian postal worker who refused to work on Sundays because of his religious beliefs.

Pennsylvania man, Gerald Groff, said the US Postal Service could have granted his request that he be spared Sunday shifts based on his religious belief that it is a day of worship and rest.

The 9-0 ruling threw out a lower court’s decision rejecting a claim by Gerald Groff, a former mail carrier in Pennsylvania, that the Postal Service’s actions refusing to exempt him from working on Sundays, violated federal anti-discrimination law.

“It’s an amazing moment to be part of, getting rid of some bad stuff that was on the books and being part of what God did”, Gerald Groff said immediately after the ruling was announced.

“It’s an honour to have my name on it but it’s really about glorifying God and giving him the honour that He is due”, he said.

Initially, Groff was not asked to work on Sundays, but the situation changed starting in 2015 because of a requirement that Amazon packages be delivered on that day. Based on his request for an accommodation, his managers arranged for other postal workers to deliver packages on Sundays until July 2018. After that, Groff faced disciplinary actions if he did not report to work.

Groff resigned and sued the Postal Service for failing to accommodate his request.

“I hope this decision allows others to be able to maintain their convictions without living in fear of losing their jobs because of what they believe,” Groff said in a statement Thursday.

The First Liberty Institute backing his case said the unanimous ruling is a “landmark decision”, which “strengthens legal protections for employees seeking religious accommodations, such as schedule changes to observe holy days”.

His victory in the Supreme Court is expected to have a major impact on the religious liberty rights of employees across the country.

The Supreme Court, with its 6-3 conservative majority, has a track record of expanding religious rights, often siding with Christian plaintiffs.

Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that a public high school football coach should be allowed to pray on the field after games. In another case, the court is weighing the claims of a Christian graphic artist who wants to create wedding websites, but not for couples in same-sex relationships.

Groups representing Christian denominations and other religious faiths filed briefs backing Groff, including the American Hindu Coalition, the American Sikh Coalition and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

(Picture Courtesy: Reuters)

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