During recent oral arguments, justices for the Supreme Court of the United States seemed conflicted on whether to upend the existing standard that allows an employer to refuse religious accommodations to its employees if the employer can show that granting the accommodation would involve more than a “de minimis” cost to the employer.

Quick Hits

  • The Supreme Court heard arguments in Groff v. DeJoy, a case over whether the more-than-de-minimis-cost test for refusing religious accommodations under Title VII should be upheld.
  • The case could determine whether the impact of accommodations on other employees can be considered an undue hardship on the employer.
  • A decision is expected by the end of the high court’s current term in June 2023.

Groff v. DeJoy

On April 18, 2023, the high court heard oral arguments in the case Groff v. DeJoy, in which a former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee is seeking to overturn this minimal, more-than-de-minimus-cost standard for what constitutes an “undue hardship” on employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the center of the case, is the high court’s 1977 decision in Trans World Airlines Inc. v. Hardison, in which the court stated that an “undue hardship” for employers is anything more than a “de minimis” burden.