Amicus Brief

Groff v. DeJoy (U.S. Supreme Court, 2023)

In Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison (1977), the Supreme Court held that an employer is required to allow a religious accommodation for an employee under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unless doing so would constitute an “undue hardship” for the business. However, the Court defined an “undue hardship” as anything that imposes “more than a de minimis cost” for the employer — a very low standard that has made it difficult over the years for people of faith to obtain religious accommodations in the workplace. In this case, the Supreme Court is asked to revisit that standard. ADL joined 5 other faith-based organizations in an amicus brief arguing that the standard needs to be changed. The brief provides a workable alternative to the de minimis standard by suggesting that “undue hardship” be defined in the same way as it is in the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also highlights that the burden of religious discrimination falls disproportionately on religious minorities and people who are economically vulnerable. Finally, the brief argues that the Court should declare that — extreme situations aside — an employer cannot establish “an undue hardship” merely because it would affect an employee’s coworkers.