In an article published in HR.com on December 21, 2023, Managing Partner Michael Kabat and Associate Matthew Hayes addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Groff Vs. DeJoy, which changed the standard courts have applied since the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Trans World Airlines v. Hardison for assessing whether a requested religious accommodation constitutes an undue hardship to the employer. The standard, which previously required an employer merely to show that the requested accommodation would require it to bear more than “de minimis” costs, now requires employers to show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in “substantial” increased costs to the “conduct” of the employer’s particular business.
The Court, however, declined to apply their new test to the specific case before them, leaving the application to the lower courts. Kabat and Hayes share their insight on implications for employers, warning that there will likely be an increase in religious accommodation claims seeking to take advantage of the now-heightened undue hardship test. They also discuss how lower courts have applied the Court’s new test in the short time since Groff was decided, including in the context of religious objections to employer-imposed COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandates.
To read the full article, click here.