• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

When religion causes a problem—or three—show why accommodating is a hardship

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Sometimes, employees claim protection from religious discrimination based on very unconventional beliefs. No matter how unusual, employers must reasonably accommodate those beliefs unless doing so causes an undue hardship.

Employers should be prepared to show why it would be a hardship before terminating the employee.

Recent case: Gary Lizalek accepted a job with Invivo Corp. and then informed the company that he understood himself to be three separate beings. This, he claimed, was a matter of faith.

One of the beings that made up Lizalek was “a trust created by the Social Security Administration” to generate assets for the government. The second being was a trustee for the first being. The third being was a steward “who lends consciousness and physical ability” to the trust.

The employer asked him to stick with one identity, but Lizalek refused. That was a problem because his correspondence confused customers and co-workers—he frequently shifted identities when writing. Management tried to work with Lizalek, but eventually gave up and fired him. The company said it could not accommodate his religious needs.

He sued for religious discrimination, but the court concluded the company was within its rights to expect Lizalek to stick with a single identity. It dismissed the case, saying that accommodating the three-being concept was an undue hardship.
(Lizalek v. Invivo, No. 08-3626, 7th Cir., 2009)

Final note: The employer played this correctly. Instead of challenging the “religion,” it showed how it would simply be a hardship to accommodate the employee’s belief system.

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/9228/when-religion-causes-a-problemor-threeshow-why-accommodating-is-a-hardship "

Leave a Comment