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Justices look for common ground in postal worker’s religious liberty case

April 19, 2023
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The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday in a case that asking the justices to decide how far employers must go to accommodate the religious practices of their employees.

Federal law bars employers from discriminating against workers for practicing their religion unless the employer can show that the worker’s religious practice cannot “reasonably” be accommodated without “undue hardship.”

The employee in Tuesday’s case, Gerald Groff, is asking the justices to overturn their 1977 decision in Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, which indicated that an “undue hardship” is anything that would require more than a trivial or minimal cost.

But after nearly two hours of oral argument, it wasn’t clear that a majority of the court was prepared to do so.

Instead, even some of the court’s conservative justices appeared inclined to strike a compromise, leaving Hardison in place, while at the same time making clear that a trivial burden is not enough to justify failing to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs.

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