HARRELL v. DONAHUE
638 F.3d 975 (2011)
Hosea HARRELL, Jr., Appellee,
Patrick R. DONAHUE, Postmaster General, United States Postal Service,1 Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
Submitted: November 16, 2010.
Filed: March 31, 2011.
Charles M. Kester, Kester Law Firm, Fayetteville, AR, argued (Todd R. McFairland, Assoc. Gen. Counsel, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, MD, on the brief), for appellant.
Before WOLLMAN, HANSEN, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Hosea Harrell is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and a former employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS). After being fired from his position with the post office in Warrensburg, Missouri, Harrell brought suit against the Postmaster General, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., (Title VII) for religious discrimination and failure to accommodate as well as a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., (RFRA). The district court2 granted summary judgment in favor of the USPS, and we affirm.I. At all times relevant to this appeal, the Warrensburg Post Office was responsible for seven "bid routes" that required approximately eight hours to complete and one "auxiliary route" that took between five to eight hours to complete. To cover these routes Monday through Saturday, the Warrensburg Post Office employed seven full-time letter carriers, a full-time letter carrier technician, and three part-time flexible letter carriers.3 A minimum of seven letter carriers was required each day to complete the routes. Each full-time letter carrier was assigned to one of the bid routes with the technician and part-time letter carriers filling in on the various bid routes and the auxiliary route as needed.
According to a seniority system used by the Warrensburg Post Office, the six most junior full-time letter carriers and the technician had rotating schedules, working five days a week with every Sunday off and another rotating day off. As a result, each letter carrier with a rotating schedule was scheduled to be off work approximately every sixth Saturday. The only full-time letter carrier without a rotating schedule was the most senior letter carrier, who worked Monday through Friday with weekends off.
Many other scheduling details at the Warrensburg Post Office were expressly controlled by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Association of Letter Carriers—the union for city letter carriers working for the USPS—and the USPS. For example, the CBA controlled the process by which annual leave was granted. During "choice" vacation months,4 annual leave was awarded under a bidding system whereas annual leave outside the "choice" vacation months was awarded on a first-come basis. The CBA also permitted an employee to request "leave without pay" but did not specify the process by which the USPS granted such requests. Rather, according to the USPS Employee and Labor Relations Manual, leave without pay was granted at the discretion of the USPS, considering the needs of the employee, the needs of the USPS, and the cost to the USPS. Harrell began working for the USPS in 2001 as a part-time flexible letter carrier
for the Warrensburg Post Office. In 2004, Harrell bid for and was awarded a full-time letter carrier position that operated on a rotating schedule. From the time of Harrell's hiring as a full-time letter carrier until his eventual firing, Harrell remained the most junior full-time letter carrier at the Warrensburg Post Office.