A Christian US postal service (USPS) worker is filing a lawsuit against his former employer after claiming that he was fired for refusing to work on Sundays. Gerald Groff, an evangelical Christian who worked as a mail carrier in Pennsylvania, alleges that his religiously-motivated wish to keep Sundays as a Sabbath day was not respected by his employer.
Groff said he has been working "flexibly" with the postal service in order to accomodate his Christian beliefs. This arrangement came to an end, however, when USPS partnered with Amazon to carry out deliveries on a Sunday. When Groff refused to work on that particular day, he alleges that his employer “needlessly disciplined him" and even enforced a two-week suspension.
Eventually, Groff's employment contract was terminated.
Now, Groff's lawyers are claiming that the USPS discriminated against their client on account of his constitutionally-protected religious beliefs.
"In a free and respectful society, government should recognise 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 one of the attorneys, David Crossett.
The disgruntled worker is seeking his job back, accommodation, back pay and unspecified compensatory payout for emotional distress. The suit also urges the USPS to start enacting policies that better protect those who choose to observe a Sabbath.
"It's not uncommon for people to request reasonable accommodations at their workplace," Jeremy Samek, an attorney at Independence Law Center, one of the firms involved in representing Groff, told ABC27.
"Employers are actually required to provide reasonable accommodations. It's something that happens every single day.
"We should, as a society, seek to reasonably accommodate people with unique religious beliefs, that we can all live and work together in a pluralistic society."