The mark of eternal damnation, or the “Mark of the Beast”, has always been a much talked about mystery. Some believe the Mark of the Beast is a computer chip implanted into ones right hand or forehead, while others believe it represents certain government programs (e.g., National ID cards, Social Security numbers, and so on).
In this case, the “mark” comes in the form of aÂ bio-metric hand-scanner. The scanner evaluates a person’s hand geometry, and then stores the information to identify individuals in future scans. As a evangelical Christian,Â Beverly R. Butcher, did not feel comfortable with this new policy. Â Butcher told his superiors atÂ Consol Energy Inc. that he couldn’t submit to the scan because he believes the technology has a connection to the “Mark of the Beast”. The company wasn’t interested in Butcher’s complaints, and they refused to exempt Butcher from the scanning. They even reject aÂ manual alternative to tracking despite making exceptions for two workers who had missing fingers.
Instead of accommodating him, a letter wasÂ written to Butcher by the scanner’s vendor, Recognition Systems Inc. Â It expressed the vendor’sÂ interpretation of chapter 13, verse 16 of the book of Revelation. The vendor pointed out that the “scripture references the Mark of the Beast only on the right hand and forehead; and suggests that persons with concerns about taking the Mark of the Beast ‘be enrolled’ (meaning, use the hand scanner) with their left hand and palm facing up.” Left with only the choice to comply or be unemployed, Butcher, a loyal employee of 35 years, was forced to retire early.
The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on behalf of Butcher against Consol Energy in September 2013. Last week, a Federal jury ruled in his favor and Butcher was awarded $150,000 forÂ salary, pension and court costs.Â The jury found that Butcher â€œhad a sincere religious belief that conflicted with an employment requirementâ€ and that Butcher informed his employer of that belief.Â The jury also found that Consol Energy failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for Butcherâ€™s beliefs and that it wouldnâ€™t have been an â€œundue hardshipâ€ to do so. The Judge,Â Frederick P. Stamp Jr, isÂ expected to determine other compensation owed to the ex-employee at a later hearing.
Consol Energy is expected to appeal the award.
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