Lighter Side: Massive payout for worker who feared "mark of the Beast"

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When Consol Energy installed hand scanners, the HR department only intended to track employees’ comings and goings for payroll purposes – but one employee was sure there’d be a more sinister side-effect.

Beverly Butcher, Jr. feared the biometric scanners would imprint him with the “mark of the Beast.” He insisted using the scanner was against his religious beliefs and asked HR officials to provide an alternative.

Instead, the HR department provided Butcher with a comforting letter from the scanner’s manufacturer – stating that the technology “does not in any way have the ability to […] place the ‘mark of the Beast’ or any other mark on a person’s hand.”

Keen to solve the problem, the letter then went on to clarify: “The Scriptures, regardless of version, consistently refer to the ‘mark of the Beast’ being found or placed only on the RIGHT hand or forehead.”

With that in mind, the scanner’s manufacturer – and Consol – hoped common sense would prevail and suggested Butcher use his left hand.

However, Butcher was far from satisfied with his employer’s decision and took Consol to court where he sues on grounds of religious discrimination.

But here’s the biscuit – he won.

A jury awarded Butcher US$150,000 in damages and is currently considering whether he is entitled to back pay.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Consol Energy plans to appeal the ruling.
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  • Mike on 2015-02-20 11:48:23 AM

    Seems the jury missed the instructions on what constitutes the interactive accommodation process and "reasonable accommodation". Based on the information in the story, the employer seems to have gone even beyond this in trying to deal with the employee. I guess it was a slow week at the EEOC when they picked this one up.

    It also makes me wonder how comfortable his coworkers were in working with a guy who believes in monsters and their ability to infiltrate optical readers. Over the years, I've had more than one employee bring forward concerns that their coworker had mental problems. Yikes!

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