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Supreme Court ruling in Sabbath accommodation case has far-reaching consequences for observant Jews

In a case that drew support from a broad array of Jewish groups, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that employers had to show a “substantial” burden to deny workers religious accommodation.

In a decision released Thursday,  the court sided with Gerald Groff, an evangelical Christian mail carrier who asked not to work on Sundays, his Sabbath. Jewish groups that do not often line up on the same side of church-state issues before the court were of a single voice in this case.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing the opinion, sought to substantially narrow a 1977 decision that faith groups have for years said is so broad in setting the standard for religious accommodation that it is meaningless.

“We think it is enough to say that an employer must show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business,” Alito said.

The previous decision had said that “to require TWA to bear more than a de minimis cost in order to give ..."