Jan 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal by an evangelical Christian former mail carrier in Pennsylvania who accused the U.S. Postal Service of religious bias after being reprimanded for refusing to deliver packages on Sundays.
The justices took up Gerald Groff’s case after lower courts dismissed his claim that the Postal Service violated federal anti-discrimination law by refusing to exempt him from working on Sundays, when he observes the Sabbath, finding that his demands placed too much hardship on his co-workers and employer.
Groff’s job as a “rural carrier associate” in Holtwood, Pennsylvania required him to fill in as needed for absent career carriers. But Groff repeatedly did not show up for Sunday shifts assigned as part of the Postal Service’s contract to deliver Amazon.com packages. Postal officials sought to accommodate Groff by attempting to facilitate Sunday shift swaps, but the effort was not always successful.
His absences caused resentment among others carriers who had to cover his shifts and ultimately led one to leave the Holtwood station and another to quit the Postal Service altogether, according to court papers. Groff received several disciplinary letters for his attendance and resigned in 2019.