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:

  1. “A trust created by the Social Security Administration … to generate assets for the U.S. government.”
  2. A trustee for the first being.
  3. 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.