Senior Counsel George M. Chuzi Responds to SCOTUS Decision on Title VII Religious Bias Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 29 said lower courts have incorrectly applied a “de minimis cost” standard when evaluating whether employers can deny workers an accommodation for religious observances based on “undue hardship” under Title VII.

Kalijarvi, Chuzi, Newman & Fitch’s senior counsel George M. Chuzi responded to the SCOTUS clarification as follows:

The decision in Groff is consistent with the EEOC’s established interpretation of the Rehabilitation Act. Which requires employers – including the federal government – to accommodate the disabilities of its employees unless to do so would impose an undue hardship. The commission has regularly rejected agency attempts to avoid hiring readers for blind employees, or providing special doors or ramps for the physically disabled, on the ground that the costs of those accommodations are hardly “substantial” to the government.

Rather than decide the validity of the Postal Service’s termination of Groff because he would not work Sundays – to deliver Amazon purchases to customers – the court remanded the case to the lower courts to apply the new standard to the facts of Groff’s case.

Still, it is hard to see how the cost for the Postal Service to revise its schedules or hire additional or temporary employees to cover Sunday deliveries would impose “substantial increased costs in relation to” its overall budget.

For full case details in the article by Westlaw Today writer Tricia Gorman, please click here.