In June 2023, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Groff v. DeJoy, where it clarified the standard governing an employer’s obligation to make a religious accommodation under Title VII. For over 50 years, lower courts had been using the Court’s language in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, that a religious accommodation constitutes an “undue hardship” under Title VII if it would cause the employer to incur “more than a de minimis cost.” This Article explains the flawed Hardison standard and analyzes the Court’s decision in Groff, including the Court’s statement that an “undue hardship” under Title VII means “substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of [the employer’s] particular business.” This Article also attempts to shed light on the relationship between the Court’s Title VII jurisprudence and its Establishment Clause jurisprudence.

A few years before it issued its decision in Hardison, the Court quietly implied that there was a tension between Title VII’s preference toward religion and the Establishment Clause. Though the Court has never overtly recognized a symbiosis between these two areas of the law—and though it has, at times, expressly disclaimed any meaningful connection between the two—I contend that the Court’s posture toward Title VII in 1977 and in 2023 are reflective of the respective positions it has taken toward the Establishment Clause. This connection, particularly as it pertains to the idea of state neutrality toward religion, provides a fresh perspective to an otherwise unsurprising decision, and it invites consideration of how the Court might continue to reposition its jurisprudence toward religion.

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