The Supreme Court accepts 8 new cases, 1 — about a religious postman

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The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider what employers must do to accommodate religious employees among the eight new cases it added. Related video above: Supreme Court hears anti-discrimination case in Colorado. The cases are expected to go to trial in April. In one involving a former postal worker, judges will consider what accommodations employers must make for religious employees. The case comes as religious plaintiffs are generally doing well on a court dominated by 6-3 conservative justices. Under federal civil rights law, employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their religion. The law states that employees’ religious practices must be accommodated unless the employer can demonstrate that it is an “undue hardship” to the business. The justices are being asked to revisit a 1977 Supreme Court case that the challengers say means lower courts almost always side with employers “when the accommodation creates any burden.” The case the justices agreed to hear concerns Gerald Groff, a former postal worker in Pennsylvania. Groff, a Christian, said his religious beliefs require him to go out on Sundays. Initially, his superiors were able to accommodate him, but eventually it ran out. Groff resigned and sued the post office. Two lower courts ruled against him. Among the other cases the justices agreed to hear:—Billy Raymond Kanterman, who was accused of stalking a Colorado musician on Facebook, sending her messages over a two-year period. Kanterman argued that his posts were protected speech, but the court found them to be unprotected “true threats” and he was ultimately sentenced to more than four years in prison. The Court of Appeal also ruled against him. The high court will consider that prosecutors must show that the statement is a “genuine threat.”—The case of a 94-year-old Minnesota woman who fell behind on her property taxes and had her home seized by local authorities. Hennepin County sold Geraldine Tyler’s home for $40,000 in payment of about $15,000 in property taxes, penalties, interest and costs. But the county kept all the money. Tyler’s lawyers say the practice, a version of which is used in about a dozen states, violates two constitutional provisions prohibiting excessive fines and forfeiture of property without Fair Payment.—A case to reinstate whistleblower lawsuits alleging that supermarket and drugstore chain Supervalu Inc. and Safeway overcharged government health programs for prescription drugs by hundreds of millions of dollars. The justices on Friday also agreed to hear appeals from whistleblowers who argued that the companies defrauded the Medicare and Medicaid programs when they reported the retail prices of generic prescription drugs, even though they were mostly sold to shoppers at deeply discounted prices. The cases stem from the companies’ efforts to comply with Walmart’s decision in 2006 to offer 30-day supplies of many off-brand drugs for $4. Supervalu and Safeway matched the discounted price at their pharmacies, but reported the much higher “usual and customary” price to the federal and state governments when claiming reimbursement. A whistleblower’s expert in the Safeway lawsuit testified that the company received $127 million more than it would have if it had reported the cut price, according to the court In the case against Supervalu, the whistleblower said the company matched Walmart’s cut price 6.3 million times over 11 years, according to court documents. The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both cases, finding that the companies’ decisions to report higher prices were not “objectively unreasonable.” In urging the High Court to dismiss the appeals, Supervalu’s lawyers wrote that the correct price to be reported “may appear to be easy enough to determine in the abstract, but it is far from simple”. The Biden administration supports whistleblowers.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider what employers must do to accommodate religious employees, among eight new cases it added.

Related video above: Supreme Court hears Colorado anti-discrimination case

The cases are expected to go to trial in April. In one involving a former postal worker, judges will consider what accommodations employers must make for religious employees. The case comes as religious plaintiffs are generally doing well on a court dominated by 6-3 conservative justices.

Under federal civil rights law, employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their religion. The law states that employees’ religious practices must be accommodated unless the employer can demonstrate that it is an “undue hardship” to the business. The justices are being asked to reconsider a 1977 Supreme Court case that the challengers say means lower courts almost always side with employers “when the accommodation creates some kind of burden.”

The case the justices agreed to hear involves Gerald Groff, a former Pennsylvania postal worker. Groff, a Christian, said his religious beliefs require him to go out on Sundays. Initially, his superiors were able to accommodate him, but eventually it ran out. Groff resigned and sued the post office. Two lower courts ruled against him.

Among other cases, the judges agreed to hear:

— The case of Billy Raymond Kanterman, who was accused of stalking a Colorado musician on Facebook, sending her messages for two years. Kanterman argued that his posts were protected speech, but the court found them to be unprotected “true threats” and he was ultimately sentenced to more than four years in prison. The Court of Appeal also ruled against him. The High Court will consider that the prosecution must show that the statement is a “genuine threat”.

— The case of a 94-year-old woman from Minnesota who failed to pay property taxes, after which her home was confiscated by local authorities.

Hennepin County sold Geraldine Tyler’s home for $40,000 to pay approximately $15,000 in property taxes, penalties, interest and costs. But the county kept all the money.

Tyler’s lawyers say the practice, a version of which is used in about a dozen states, violates two constitutional provisions that prohibit excessive fines and the taking of property without fair compensation.

—Reinstatement of whistleblower lawsuits alleging supermarket and drugstore chain Supervalu Inc. and Safeway have inflated the cost of prescription drugs to government health care programs by hundreds of millions of dollars.

On Friday, the justices also agreed to hear appeals from whistleblowers who argued that the companies defrauded the Medicare and Medicaid programs when they reported the retail prices of generic prescription drugs, even though they were mostly sold to customers at deeply discounted prices.

The cases stem from the companies’ efforts to comply with Walmart’s decision in 2006 to offer 30-day supplies of many generic drugs for $4.

Supervalu and Safeway matched the discount price at their pharmacies, but they reported the much higher “usual and customary” price to the federal and state governments when they sought reimbursement.

A whistleblower expert in Safeway’s lawsuit testified that the company received $127 million more than it would have if it had reported the reduced price, according to court documents.

In the case against Supervalu, a whistleblower said the company matched Walmart’s discounted price 6.3 million times over 11 years, according to court documents.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both cases, finding that the companies’ decisions to report higher prices “were not objectively unreasonable.”

In urging the High Court to dismiss the appeals, Supervalu’s lawyers wrote that the correct price to be reported “may appear to be easy enough to determine in the abstract, but it is far from simple”.

The Biden administration supports whistleblowers.

The Supreme Court accepts 8 new cases, 1 — about a religious postman

Source link The Supreme Court accepts 8 new cases, 1 — about a religious postman