The federal government has filed suit against CONSOL Energy and Consolidation Coal Company, claiming it violated federal law by failing to accommodate a long-time employee’s religious beliefs.
Those beliefs: That the company’s relatively new biometric hand-scanning attendance tracker resembles a prophecy about the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced its suit against Consul last week, alleging that the company failed to make the appropriate accommodations for Beverly Butcher, Jr., who “repeatedly” told supervisors the hand-scanner violated his beliefs as an evangelical Christian.
Butcher also wrote to the mining superintendent and human resources manager requesting an exemption from the hand-scanning tracker due to his religious beliefs —- that the scanners were like the “mark of the beast” and Antichrist.
According to the EEOC, Butcher had worked as a general inside laborer at the CONSUL mine in Mannington, W.V. for over 35 years and that Butcher was forced to retire due to the company’s failure to accommodate his beliefs.
“In religious accommodation cases, the standard is not whether company officials agree with or share the employee’s religious beliefs,” Philadelphia regional attorney Debra M. Lawrence said in a statement. “Instead, the focus is on whether the employer can provide an accommodation without incurring an undue hardship.”
EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia after attempting to settle out of court.
“In this case, the mining companies not only lost the services of a long-tenured employee, they also violated federal law when they obstinately refused to consider easy alternatives to their new hand-scanning time and attendance system to accommodate Mr. Butcher’s religious beliefs,” EEOC district director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. added.
(H/T The West Virginia Record)