Press Release

ADL Urges Supreme Court to Revisit Flawed Ruling on Religious Accommodations in the Workplace

Group joins with LDS Church, Catholics, Southern Baptists and Evangelicals in urging court to reconsider ruling that failed to protect people of faith

New York, NY, February 28, 2023… ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today joined an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Groff v. DeJoy, supporting people of faith seeking religious accommodations in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VII requires employers to allow religious accommodations for employees unless doing so would constitute an “undue hardship” for the business. However, in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, the Supreme Court in 1977 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 actually obtain religious accommodations in the workplace. 

“Religion is a protected class under the law and must be treated that way. If religious protections for employees can’t be enforced, they are effectively meaningless,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “People of faith will forever be unable to participate fully in society if they are forced to choose between their religion and earning a living. We urge the Supreme Court to revisit this decision and adopt a legal standard that will more effectively protect religious accommodations in the workplace.”

The brief, drafted by the law firm Kirton McConkie, argues that decisions over accommodations for religious beliefs and practices should not be left to an employer’s sole discretion, particularly when such beliefs and practices require observing a Sabbath day or other holy days or complying with particular dress standards. The consequences of the Hardison ruling, the brief says, “… falls heaviest on religious minorities and the economically vulnerable.”

Joining ADL on the amicus brief are the Baptist Joint Committee (BJC), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Association of Evangelicals, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.