BOISE – Attorney General Raúl Labrador has joined a brief in the United States Supreme Court to strengthen the religious rights of employees.
The lawsuit was filed by a United States Postal Service employee who observes the Sabbath but was refused any accommodation to continue his job without violating his conscience. To avoid disciplinary action for being unable to work on Sunday, the employee gave up his seniority and moved to an office that was not open on Sundays. Despite moving to a new post office, the employee was again asked to work Sundays when that post office transitioned to Sunday work. Ultimately, the employee resigned rather than give up his faith commitments.
Under a collective-bargaining agreement, U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) requires employees to work Sunday shifts. The collective-bargaining agreement violates employees’ religious rights by failing to accommodate religious observance appropriately. The U.S. Postal Service’s only remedy to observance is termination. This requirement places an undue burden on religious employees and forces individuals to choose between their faith and job. The State of Idaho supports existing federal law, that clearly states it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their religion.
Attorney General Labrador said: “We will always protect an individual’s right to practice and observe their faith. Irrespective of the religion practiced, celebrating your faith is a fundamental American freedom. We look forward to the Supreme Court reaffirming and strengthening religious liberties.”
The case presents the U.S. Supreme Court with an opportunity to ensure religious employees of all faiths are provided with meaningful religious accommodations in the workplace as required by federal law.