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‘Mark of the Beast’ case settled for $600,000

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Consol Energy, headquartered in Pittsburgh, will pay a former employee $586,861 after the 4th Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that he was forced to retire early when it refused to accommodate his religious beliefs.

The employee had worked at the company’s Robinson Run, W.Va., coal mine for 37 years when Consol changed its time-keeping equipment. The new system used an infrared scanner to measure the geometry of each employee’s hand. Employees clocked in and out by scanning their hands.

The man objected to the scanner on religious grounds, alleging that the scanner somehow represented a fulfillment of a biblical association of the number 666 as a sign of Satan—the so-called Mark of the Beast.

Despite assurances that the machine did not mark his hand, but merely recorded its dimensions, he still refused to use it. Instead, he asked to simply write down his hours as he had for the previous 35 years.

When Consol refused, he retired five years earlier than he had planned rather than using the scanner.

He did not even file a religious discrimination complaint until he learned the company allowed workers with injured hands or missing fingers to bypass the scanner and write down their hours. That’s when he filed a religious discrimination complaint with the EEOC.

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