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| 1 minute read
Reposted from Taylor English Insights

SCOTUS Decision Impacts Employer's Duty to Accommodate Religious Beliefs

The Supreme Court held 

yesterday in a 9-0 unanimous decision that an employer must show that granting an employee's religious accommodation request would result in "substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business" before it can deny such a request.

Groff v DeJoy, Postmaster General

The case involved a USPS worker, Gerald Groff, who did not want to work Sunday shifts because of his religious beliefs. He sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before yesterday's ruling, an employer only had to show that a religious accommodation would cause a "de minimis" (essentially a bare minimum) cost to the business to justify denying an employee's request for religious accommodation. This low bar of what could cause an "undue hardship" to a business resulted in many employers being able to deny even minor requests.

By way of contrast, an employer who wants to deny a disability accommodation request under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must show that the accommodation is an "action requiring significant difficulty or expense" in order to meet the ADA undue hardship threshold test. 

How This Affects Employers

Every business is different. There will not be a one-size-fits-all answer. But because the de minimis standard no longer applies, employers should be ready to address requests for religious accommodation with the expectation that a more serious analysis will need to be undertaken. The two most likely areas that this ruling will impact are work schedules due to religious sabbath days, and religious dress. Employers should make sure that managers and supervisors are aware of the procedures for addressing requests going forward.


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