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WV AG Co-Leads Brief in SCOTUS Case Impacting Protections for Americans’ Religious Freedom

February 28th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is co-leading a coalition of 22 states with Louisiana in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a broader right to religious accommodations in the workplace.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case, Groff v. DeJoy, on April 18. The outcome of the case holds much significancethe possible restoration of fuller protections for employee religious freedom in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A 1977 Supreme Court decision, Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, narrowed protections for religious liberty in the workplace.
“Our forefathers envisioned a society that thrives on religious freedom, and American workers need not to be put in a position of choosing their job over their faith,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “No one should be forced to sacrifice their dedication to their religion in order to keep a job.”
At the center of the case is Gerald Groff, an evangelical Christian who faithfully observes Sunday Sabbath. He was a mail carrier in Pennsylvania when the United States Postal Service signed an agreement with Amazon in 2013 to deliver packages on Sundays and holidays.
Rather than work on Sundays, Groff resigned in 2019 after USPS refused to grant him a blanket exemption from Sunday shifts. He then sued, alleging the Postal Service subjected him to discrimination for refusing to accommodate his religious beliefs and practices under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A federal appeals court last May ruled against Groff, concluding that granting him an exemption would burden other postal workers.
The coalition argues in the brief that the courts have long applied the incorrect standing for deciding when an employer should accommodate an employee’s religious practices—the current test provides insufficient protection for employees.
“Observing the Sabbath for many is critical in the practice of their faith,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Many spend most of their time at work, and people should not be expected to choose between their jobs and their faith.”
Joining the West Virginia- and Louisiana-led brief are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.