Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Fourth Circuit to Review “Mark of the Beast” Religious Discrimination Case

By Elise C. Hofer

cross on hillConsol Energy has asked the Fourth Circuit to review a nearly $600,000 unanimous federal jury verdict in favor of a former employee’s Title VII claims of religious discrimination based on the company’s failure to accommodate his religious beliefs.  U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Consol Energy, Inc., No. 1:13-cv-215 (N.D. W. Va. Aug. 21, 2015).  Plaintiff Beverly Butcher, who worked as a Consol mine worker for over 35 years, had requested an exemption from the mandated use of the company’s new biometric hand scanners, which were installed to track employees’ time and attendance.  Butcher, an Evangelical Christian, explained to his supervisors that he believed the scanning would create an identifier for followers of the Antichrist known as the “Mark of the Beast.”  Nevertheless, Consol required Butcher to use the scanners and refused to permit alternate means of tracking Butcher’s time, prompting him to resign from the company.

At trial and in post-trial motions, Consol Energy challenged the logic and consistency of Butcher’s religious beliefs.  In particular, Consol pointed out that Butcher’s own pastor did not agree that the hand scanners had Continue reading