A churchgoer was sacked by Sainsbury's after 20 years because she refused demands to work every Sunday morning.
She has since been fighting to prove she was unfairly dismissed from her role as a trading assistant in a bid to win back her job.
An employment tribunal has heard how her issues began in October 2021, when Sainsbury’s engaged so-called ‘fire and rehire’ tactics - a practice in which an employer dismisses a worker and offers them a new contract on different, often less-favourable terms.
Immediately after Mrs Rendell’s original contract was ended she was offered a new one, but the proposed rota would have prevented her from attending any Sunday church services.
Previously, her hours had included one Sunday shift a fortnight, but as the business moved from a two-week rota to a one-week system, the shopworker was asked to work every Sunday.
Trying to save her role, Mrs Rendell approached a coworker and arranged a potential job share but this proposal was rejected by Sainsbury’s management.
The tribunal, which was held remotely last month, was told that three mediation meetings were held with Sainsbury’s bosses in a bid to find a resolution.
During these conversations, Mrs Rendell explained that the new schedule would interfere with her commitment to religious worship, as well as a second administration job she holds at her husband’s firm and her ability to care for her elderly mother.
Despite requesting these meetings be recorded or her husband be allowed to attend to help her remember the details of the negotiations, bosses rejected these adjustments, saying they went against Sainsbury’s policy.
The churchgoer said she struggled to follow and remember what was said due to a then-undiagnosed learning disability.
“I didn’t disclose it at the time as I didn’t know at the time it was a disability,” she said.
“I’d always just got on with it, but I did tell them I struggled to write things down and to remember things. I can’t write when people are watching me, it makes me feel embarrassed.”
Due to this issue, Ms Rendell requested Sainsbury’s records of the meetings but was first rebuffed and then told to make the request in writing.
She did subsequently receive their notes from the sessions.
“I didn’t disclose it at the time as I didn’t know at the time it was a disability...”
In his evidence, Sainsbury’s manager of more than a decade Robert Lyne revealed that Mrs Rendell had to bring notes to her meetings with bosses as she was too upset to speak.
Sainsbury’s representatives at the hearing said the changes to contracts were necessary to meet customer needs as they did not have enough customer experience staff working weekends and they did not have the budget to hire more employees.
They also made it clear they had offered Mrs Rendell alternative roles but she was not interested in any other vacancy.
But Mrs Rendell said none of the proffered jobs were suitable, with one located at the Sittingbourne store, which she felt was too far away.
The hearing concluded with the presiding Employment Judge Kathryn Ramsden opting for a reserved judgement, which is expected to be published in the next five weeks.