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The Solicitor General of the United States, Noel Francisco, has recommended that the United States Supreme Court agree to consider a Sabbath accommodation case involving a Seventh-day Adventist.
Darrell Patterson, a Walgreens employee, had an agreement with his supervisor at Walgreens that if he were scheduled during his Sabbath hours, from sunset Friday through sunset Saturday, arrangements would be made to have others cover the shift. This arrangement worked for a long time, but when Walgreens executives scheduled a last-minute Saturday training, they asked Patterson to conduct it or face discipline. In keeping with his faith, he refused to report to work and was fired. Patterson sued Walgreens for religious discrimination, but both the district and appeals courts sided with the company. In 2018, Patterson appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Amicus - Brief - December - Behalf - United
In an amicus brief filed on December 9, 2019, on behalf of the United States government at the request of the Court, the Solicitor General asked that the Court hear the case to revisit the 1977 decision in TWA v. Hardison, 432 U.S. 63. The Hardison case made it more difficult to prevail in religious accommodation cases because employers could avoid accommodating an employee if the employer could demonstrate that accommodating an employee's religious practices would pose a di minimis amount of "undue hardship" on the business.
The Solicitor General's amicus brief points out that the Court has not previously had a full briefing on what "undue hardship" actually means — and that this definition has been at the center of disputes over the necessary extent of religious accommodation.
Hardship - Language - Hardison - Goal - Workplace
Revisiting the "undue hardship" language in Hardison was the primary goal of pursuing a federal Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA).
Francisco, an appointee of President Donald Trump, has held the position of Solicitor General since being confirmed by the United States Senate in 2017.
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