U.S. Supreme Court, petitioner Gerald Groff, who worked as a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS), challenges USPS’s denial of his requested religious accommodation to not work Sundays.
In 2013, the USPS contracted with an online retailer to perform Sunday package deliveries. Groff informed USPS that his religious beliefs prohibited him from working on Sundays. USPS tried to find other carriers to cover Groff’s Sunday shifts, but because of a shortage of rural carriers, it often failed. Groff requested that USPS exempt him from Sunday work, but USPS declined, stating that his requested accommodation would lead to undue hardship for the USPS.
USPS instituted progressive discipline against Groff for missing his scheduled Sunday shifts. Groff eventually resigned in 2019, citing USPS’s refusal to honor his religious beliefs as the reason for his resignation.
Oral argument is scheduled for April 18. (Link)
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What Are Amicus Briefs?
An amicus curiae is a person who isn’t a party to a case. They assist an appellate court by offering additional, relevant information or arguments the court may want to consider before making their ruling. The phrase, amicus curiae, is Latin for “friend of the court.” Amicus briefs – shorthand for the formal term “amicus curiae briefs,” are legal briefs filed in appellate courts by amicus curiae. They are submitted in a specific case under review. They essentially show the court that its final decision will impact people other than the parties.
INTEREST OF AMICI CURIAE
The National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (“NRLCA”) has represented rural letter carriers and has sought to improve their conditions of work with the United States Postal Service (“USPS” or “Postal Service”) since 1903.
The NRLCA is the union that represented Petitioner, Gerald Groff, in his position as a Rural Carrier Associate, and the NRLCA is deeply concerned about both non-discriminatory treatment for religiously observant rural letter carriers, and equitable scheduling for all rural letter carriers.
Likewise, the National Association of Letter Carriers (“NALC”), founded in 1889, is the representative of city delivery letter carriers, and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (“NPMHU”), founded in 1912, represents the mail handling craft.
Both of these unions share NRLCA’s concerns with fair treatment of USPS workers. Together, these three unions (“Postal Unions”) represent hundreds of thousands of Postal Service employees who will be directly affected by the issues before the Court.
These postal unions have been involved in litigation and grievance proceedings on several different sides of religious accommodation issues with the U.S. Postal Service.
As such, these postal unions have particular insight into the effects of accommodations and accommodation law on the Postal Service employees they represent.
Moreover, as unions tasked with fairly representing all members of their respective bargaining units, these postal unions have significant experience balancing the individual and collective interests of Postal Service workers.