Our client was confronted with multiple EEOC charges from an employee claiming that she was denied reasonable accommodation because she had historically attended church every Sunday and her current supervisor was now requiring her to work on Sundays as her job duties required. Unfortunately, her historical time off was partially true. She was given some Sundays off, and on other Sundays she just called in and said she would be missing work to attend church. This employee was exceptionally difficult to work with at times so she was permitted to get away with it. Eventually, the problem needed to be corrected and our client came to us for help.
We wrote a detailed letter for our client to send to the employee explaining why she needed to work at least two Sundays each month. Consistent with Title VII principles, we explained she could work a split shift or other hours outside of Church services so the work could get done, while accommodating her religious observances. The employee refused, claiming she had to be in church all day. Anticipating this position wouldn’t change, we hired a private investigator to follow her and videotape her whereabouts on Sundays. It turned out she was not in church all day. She left the morning service at approximately 12:30, with plenty of time to complete the work that our client needed. When confronted with the videotape, she changed her tune, claiming she had already told management she was available to work when she was not at church. Of course, her documents said otherwise and the inconsistency of her positions proved fatal to her claim. Wondering what she would have said had we not had the video evidence of her fraudulent statements, our client was glad she never had the opportunity to go down that road.