BJC welcomes Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion clarifying religious protections in workplace

BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman reacts to the decision clarifying when businesses need not accommodate religious practices

Jun 29, 2023

Media contact: Karlee Marshall | [email protected] | 202-544-4226

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Groff v. DeJoy, clarifying the standard for religious accommodation cases. The Court stated that “Title VII requires an employer that denies a religious accommodation to show that the burden of granting an accommodation would result in substantial increased costs in relation to the conduct of its particular business.”

BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman released the following statement in reaction to the decision:  

The U.S. Supreme Court was right to revisit its 1977 decision in Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison and disapprove of the “more than de minimis cost” standard. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act plays an important part in ensuring equal opportunities for workers of all faiths. Today’s decision upholds religious freedom protections consistent with congressional intent and clarifies the duties of employers.


This decision is a victory for religious minorities, who disproportionately claim the need for workplace religious accommodations. It provides guidance to lower courts to ensure the statute works as it was designed. “Substantial increased costs” is an improved test for applying Title VII.


Providing workplaces free from religious discrimination requires all businesses to consider how some religious observances conflict with general work rules and business operations. The statute requires religious accommodations that protect workers without undue harm to business. This decision clarifies that the statute means what it says. 


While there will certainly be future disputes, today’s unanimous decision points us in a positive direction where all Americans across ideological and religious differences can come together to defend faith freedom for all.  

BJC joined a brief along with a diverse group of religious organizations calling on the Supreme Court to revisit Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison (1977) and revise the “de minimis cost” standard. BJC’s award-winning Respecting Religion podcast has covered the case, and co-hosts Holly Hollman and Amanda Tyler will have much more to say about the decision on the season four finale.

BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is an 87-year-old religiously based organization working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. BJC is the home of the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign.