The EEOC is suing Canonsburg-based CONSOL Energy on behalf of an evangelical Christian who retired from his job rather than submit to biometric scanning designed to track his work time and activities.
The long-time employee claims the practice would have violated his sincerely held religious beliefs.
Before he retired, the man sent a letter to the company’s HR director, explaining his view of the relationship between the biometric scanning and the “mark of the beast” foretold in the Bible’s Book of Revelations. The beast is generally interpreted as the Antichrist, who requires citizens under his rule to have a mark on their foreheads or wrists that allows them to transact commerce. Anyone bearing the mark is later cast into a lake of fire at the final judgment.
He requested an accommodation exempting him from the biometric scanning.
According to the EEOC, the company refused to consider alternative methods for tracking work time and movements in the workplace, even though it had done so for two employees with missing fingers.
The two sides failed to settle the dispute through the EEOC’s conciliation process, and the Commission filed suit.
Advice: Never try to pass judgment on the validity of an employee’s religious beliefs. Courts only require the belief to be sincerely held to qualify for accommodation. You may refuse to provide an accommodation only if you can prove doing so would constitute an undue burden on your business operations.