How the Supreme Court’s Religious Accommodation Decision Impacts Texans

In a unanimous ruling on June 29, 2023 in Groff v. DeJoy, the Supreme Court emphasized that employers must grant an employee’s request for a religious accommodation unless doing so would impose a substantial negative impact to the business.

This recent clarification from the Supreme Court upended nearly 50 years of precedent in the definition of “undue hardship”. Previously, in order to deny a religious accommodation request, an employer had to prove doing so would have more than a “de minimis”, or minimal, impact on the company.

The new ruling makes it much more difficult to deny a religious accommodation request by an employees, as employers will now have to prove the accommodation cannot be granted without substantial increased cost to the business.

What is the background of this decision?

Concerning religious discrimination and accommodation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandates employers must “reasonably accommodate employees whose sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances conflict with work requirements, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship.”

What are examples of religious accommodation requests?

Religious accommodations could include scheduling changes, voluntary shift substitutions, designating a private area in the workplace for religious observance to occur, and modifying the company grooming policy or dress code.

What should employees do who are asking for religious accommodation in Texas?

Employees should document all religious accommodation requests and communications in writing. Retain all communications from both parties regarding any religious accommodation request.

Employees should also contact an employment attorney as soon as possible if they feel they have been illegally denied a religious accommodation request.

If you have questions or believe you have not been provided reasonable religious accommodations by your employer, contact Ross Scalise Employment Lawyers today to understand your rights.

Read Justice Alito’s opinion of the court in Groff v. DeJoy here.

Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers is committed to helping workers by upholding the law and holding companies accountable for their actions. If your employer has discriminated against you, harassed you, retaliated against you for complaining about illegal actions, stolen your wages, or otherwise wronged you, take a stand. You can start by talking to a seasoned Austin employment attorney at our firm today.