With legal representation by Pacific Justice Institute, longtime symphony bassist John P Gallagher is suing after the HSO refused his religious accommodation request. That dispute dates back to October 2021.
PJI attorney Brad Dacus says Gallagher is "a world-class bassist" who has been a loyal member of HSO since 1997.
PJI believes it can win on behalf of its client thanks to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Groff v DeJoy. In that ruling, Pennsylvania postal worker Gerald Groff had a religious accommodation to not work on Sunday but he was then ordered to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays.
In a case summary at Scotusblog.com, the legal website explained that Title VII requires an employer that denies a religious accommodation to show doing so would create a substantial burden for the business.
The justices ruled 9-0 in Groff’s favor in that decision from June, and Dacus insists the ruling favors Gallagher, too.
“The Supreme Court made it very clear that to show an undue burden means that they don't just simply try to show more than just a mild inconvenience,” the attorney says. “No, the court made it very clear that entities like this orchestra have to show a substantial cost or expense to be incurred as a result of trying to accommodate."