Evangelical Christian sues US Postal Service over mandatory work on Sundays

Unsplash/Pope Moysuh
Unsplash/Pope Moysuh

An evangelical Christian in Pennsylvania has taken legal action against the U.S. Postal Service for forcing him to quit by requiring him to work on Sundays after the USPS partnered with Amazon for delivery.

Gerald Groff, a former mail carrier in Lancaster County who didn’t want to miss church or to observe Sunday as the day of worship, filed a motion for summary judgment before a federal district judge against the USPS earlier this month for not accommodating his religious beliefs, Independence Law Center, which is one of the law firms representing the Christian, said in a statement.

The USPS had never required Groff to work on Sundays until it started parcel delivery in partnership with Amazon.

Initially, the Post Office accommodated Groff’s religious beliefs for not working on Sundays, as he worked on holidays, in the evenings and on Saturdays when other carriers weren’t willing to work. However, later, the USPS started enforcing a mandatory Sunday policy on Groff and disciplined him. As a result, he was constructively discharged from the job.

“In a free and respectful society, government should recognize those differences among us that make us great, rather than punishing those differences, particularly when those differences result from our sincerely held religious beliefs,” David Crossett, one of the attorneys representing Groff, said in the statement.

“Just as the Supreme Court recognized in a case involving the right of a Muslim worker to wear a head scarf at a clothing store, a government employer like the Post Office should reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs. The Post Office had plenty of other options for delivering Amazon packages on Sundays without making this employee violate his religious conscience,” said Randall Wenger, ILC’s Chief Counsel. “In a free society, government employers can and should do better at respecting their employees’ rights.”

ILC lawyer Jeremy Samek told abc27 that it’s not uncommon for people to request reasonable accommodations at their workplace. “Employers are actually required to provide reasonable accommodations. It’s something that happens every single day.”

Samek continued, “We should, as a society, seek to reasonably accommodate people with unique religious beliefs, that we can all live and work together in a pluralistic society.”

“At the end of the day, Mr. Groff wants his job back. It’s important for him, but it’s also important for lots of other people who work for the federal government or the post office that they be able to continue their employment and to continue to observe their religious beliefs.”

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