In America, we don’t have to leave our faith behind just to make a living.
That’s why the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Groff v. DeJoy is great news for people of every faith. As ADF Legal Counsel Michael Ross writes in Townhall, this decision paved the way for companies to respect their employees’ religious practices.
Religious exercise—guaranteed by the First Amendment and federal law—doesn’t go away just because someone else feels inconvenienced, put upon, or even offended. Thankfully, the Supreme Court agreed, affirming that Title VII protects employees’ ability to live and work according to their religious beliefs, and that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious practice unless doing so “would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.”
Lower courts’ long-held misinterpretation of a Supreme Court decision afforded employers a rationale to deny many religious accommodation requests, as long as it required the employer “to bear more than a de minimis [minimal] cost.” Ross is hopeful the Court’s clarity is a major step toward protecting religious freedom in the workplace.
Under the newly clarified test, employers must consider “all relevant factors in the case at hand, including the particular accommodations at issue and their practical impact in light of the nature, size and operating cost of an employer”… Lower courts will have to flesh out the new test. But it undoubtedly protects more than what the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] already recognized and what many courts had decided under the more-than-de minimis standard. This standard better protects all Americans’ right to live and work in a manner consistent with their faith. And it’s a welcome change from the previous legal regime that had treated Groff and other religious employees—including fellow Christians, but also Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, and Rastafarians—as second-class citizens.
Now that the law is clear, Ross calls upon employers to update their policies to reflect the freedom affirmed by the Court.
Now that the Supreme Court has properly reset the legal landscape, it’s time for employers to respond accordingly. Of the 75 publicly traded Fortune 1,000 companies scored in the Viewpoint Diversity Score 2023 Business Index, not one disclosed a workplace religious accommodation policy. Every company should provide a written policy and process for employees to request religious accommodations. Employees of faith have the freedom to contribute their perspectives and bring their full selves to work. It’s now on employers to recognize and honor that reality.
Read the full article here.