Three important takeaways from SCOTUS decision in Groff v. DeJoy

When the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in Groff v. DeJoy earlier today, it expanded the rights of employees against religious discrimination in the workplace, according to constitutional law and religious liberty expert Nathan S. Chapman.

What does the ruling in Groff v. DeJoy mean?

Title VII requires employers to accommodate an employee’s request for a religious accommodation unless it would cause an “undue burden” to the employer’s business. In Groff, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that an employer must show that an “undue burden” is a “substantial cost. 

What are three key takeaways from today’s Groff v. DeJoy ruling?

There are three important implications from today’s decision:

  1. Employers will have to do more to accommodate employees’ religious exercise.
  2. More employees’ religious exercise will be accommodated in the workplace.
  3. Legislative religious accommodations like Title VII do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Additional background on today’s ruling

In a prior case, TWA v. Hardison (1977), the U.S. Supreme Court had appeared to hold that an employee need only show that the cost is more than de minimis, which means trifling. Lower courts have accordingly applied the “more than de minimis” standard for about 50 years. In Groff, the Supreme Court agreed with both the plaintiff and the Solicitor General for the United States that Hardison should be read to require an employer to show a “substantial cost” to the business.


Chapman, who holds the Brock Associate Professorship

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