Unholy trinity: 3 employees for the price of one
Soon after Gary Lizalek was hired at a Wisconsin medical firm, he informed the company that he believed, as a matter of religious faith, that he was three separate beings:
- “A trust created by the Social Security Administration … to generate assets for the U.S. government.”
- A trustee for the first being.
- Gary Lizalek, the human who “lends consciousness and physical abilities to said Trust.”
He refused to stick with one identity in correspondence, which confused customers and co-workers, as did his habit of referring to himself in the third person. The company fired all three Lizaleks. He sued, saying the company failed to accommodate his religious beliefs.
Verdict: The court dismissed the case, saying that accommodating the three-being concept was an undue hardship. (Lizalek v. Invivo, No. 08-3626, 7th Cir., 2009)
Note: The employer played this correctly. Instead of challenging the legitimacy of his “religion,” it showed how it would simply be an “undue hardship” to accommodate the employee’s belief system.