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October 24, 2023
October 17, 2023
Do you ever get that little twist in your stomach knowing you have to go in
to work tomorrow?
How many meetings have you sat through, where the only real thing accomplished was the
scheduling of another meeting?
We've been there.
August 1, 2023
In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, the interpretation of religious accommodations in the workplace has been expanded. The case involved Gerald Groff, a former postal worker who sued the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for not accommodating his religious practice as an evangelical Christian. Groff observes a Sunday Sabbath and requested exemption from Sunday deliveries. USPS, which has a contract with Amazon for Sunday deliveries, attempted to find voluntary co-workers to cover Groff’s shifts. However, this arrangement was deemed an undue hardship on the organization, as it disrupted workflow and diminished employee morale.
The Court ruling, authored by Justice Alito, emphasized that employers must go beyond a mere conclusion that accommodating a religious practice would burden other employees with overtime. Instead, they must consider alternative options such as shift swapping, incentives for covering certain shifts, or coordination with nearby facilities. This ruling sets a higher bar for employers, making it more challenging to deny religious accommodation requests.
The decision also clarified the meaning of “undue hardship.” Courts will now require employers to demonstrate that accommodating religious practices would result in substantial increased costs relative to the conduct of their specific business. However, employers cannot cite religious intolerance or bias as a basis for claiming undue hardship. Any hardship caused by employee animosity towards religious practices or accommodations is not considered valid.
If you think it may be time for training your work teams regarding creating respectful workplaces, or helping your supervisors know how to be issue spotters, please let us know.
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