Former postal worker continues battle to honor the Sabbath

Former postal worker continues battle to honor the Sabbath

Former postal worker continues battle to honor the Sabbath

It could be months before it's known how a federal court of appeals will come down in the case of a former postal worker who was refused a religious accommodation to not work on Sundays.

"Gerald Groff is a long-time postal carrier who delivered mail in Pennsylvania and did a good job," says attorney Hiram Sasser of First Liberty Institute, the law firm representing Groff. Sasser adds that Groff, a Christian, considers the Sabbath Day holy. "When they started delivering the Amazon packages on Sunday … he did not want to violate God's law and so he could not work on Sundays," the attorney adds.

Groff put in a request to not have to work on Sundays, while saying he would work any other day and time. Sasser continues, explaining that for a long time the postal service had no problem accommodating his client:

Sasser, Hiram (Liberty Institute) Sasser

"… [But in 2016 the USPS] decided that they were no longer going to accommodate him, even though the postmaster in that area said that accommodating him is not a big deal and it would not be that big of an issue for them."

"[But when] they decided they were not going to accommodate him … ultimately he ended up being forced out because he was not able to deliver on Sunday against his religious beliefs – and so this case is about getting his job back."

The case is now before the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where earlier this week Groff's attorneys urged that court to reverse a lower-court decision and reinstate their client.

"The government won at the district court level and now we've gone up to the circuit court," says Sasser. "What's interesting about this particular case is how Sabbath Day accommodations work in this country – because there's a big split amongst the circuits where some circuits are friendly towards the Sabbath and keeping it holy and some are not that friendly. Eventually the Supreme Court is probably going to have resolve that issue."

The USPS did not respond to AFN's email seeking comment.