A Christian postal worker from Pennsylvania is suing the U.S. Postal Service after he was forced to quit over a requirement to work Sundays, a mandate that didn’t come until the USPS began partnering with Amazon for delivery.
Gerald Groff filed the lawsuit several weeks ago, according to the Associated Press, arguing he was let go from his position after refusing to work on Sundays for religious reasons. Groff explained in his filing that he made himself available for work on holidays and evening hours to accommodate his religious convictions.
He was never mandated to work Sundays until the partnership with Amazon.
Soon after the partnership developed between the USPS and Amazon, the government agency began implementing a no-exceptions policy against taking off work on Sundays. The seven-year veteran postal worker was “needlessly disciplined” over the matter, Groff’s filing stated.
He ultimately resigned in January 2019.
“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,” said David Crossett, one of the attorneys representing Groff.
Groff’s lawsuit is seeking the reinstatement of the postal worker’s position with his religious accommodation, back pay for the time since he was forced to resign from the job, and an unspecified amount of money for emotional damages.
While the USPS is a federal agency, it operates independently and does not draw on taxpayer dollars to fund its services. Nevertheless, Groff is requesting in his suit that the USPS create policies to provide equal employment opportunities for applicants and workers who observe the Sabbath on Sundays.
Jeremy Samek, an attorney for Independence Law Center, one of the firms representing Groff, told WHTM-TV that his client’s request “is not uncommon.”
“Employers are actually required to provide reasonable accommodations. It’s something that happens every single day,” he said. “[A]t the end of the day, Mr. Groff wants his job back.”
“It’s important for him,” Samek continued, “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.”