Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement ahead of oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court today in Groff v. DeJoy, a case that invites the justices to expand the religious accommodations employers must grant to workers, even if they harm coworkers.
“Our civil rights laws rightly require religious accommodations for workers, which is especially important for religious minorities whose rights and customs might not be respected in the workplace. But religious freedom does not mean we can shift the burden of practicing our faith onto other people. Groff was hired as a part-time, flexible carrier at a 4-person post office and then refused to show up for work on 24 Sundays. This wreaked havoc at the small post office, harmed his co-workers – who were also churchgoing Christians – and led them to resign, transfer, file grievances, and cover his shifts. Religious freedom has never been a license to harm others, in employment or any other facet of life.
“This Case Is A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.”
“This case is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Christian Nationalist legal groups are litigating cases like this as part of their crusade to privilege those who share their narrow religious beliefs – at the cost of everyone else’s religious freedom. They seek to use religious freedom to justify opening the floodgates of discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, people seeking reproductive health care, religious minorities and other vulnerable communities.
“Once upon a time the Supreme Court prioritized religious freedom cases aimed at protecting the rights of religious minorities who are marginalized in a predominantly Christian society. But the Christian Nationalist groups litigating this case are hoping to use it to extend the recent pattern of the current court granting special favor to the majority religion at the expense of all others. We need a national recommitment to the separation of church and state in order to uphold this country’s promise of freedom and equality for all of us.”
Groff’s legal team includes First Liberty Institute and the Independence Law Center, Christian Nationalist organizations that are part of a billion-dollar shadow network behind nationwide litigation that seeks to undermine church-state separation.
Americans United & Lambda Legal Filed Amicus Brief In Case
Americans United was joined by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in filing an amicus brief in the case, arguing that Title VII permits employers to consider whether proposed religious accommodations would impose scheduling, health and safety, dignitary, or other burdens on coworkers or customers.
More information about the case is available here.
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications