On September 25, the EEOC issued a press release announcing CONSOL Energy and Consolidation Coal Company violated federal law when they refused to accommodate a long-time employee’s religious belief. Apparently, the companies installed a biometric hand scanner to track employee time and attendance. The employee in question, Beverly Butcher, believed that that there was relationship between hand-scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast,* such that submitting to handscanning technology would violate his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian.
The money quote in the EEOC’s press release is this:
In religious accommodation cases, the standard is not whether company officials agree with or share the employee’s religious beliefs…Instead, the focus is on whether the employer can provide an accommodation without incurring an undue hardship.
Whether an employer believes that biometric technology is the Mark of the Beast, and thus a prelude to the End of Days, is not relevant. All that matters under the law is whether the employer reasonably accommodates an employee’s sincerely-held religious belief if it can do so without undue hardship. Here, the companies allowed employees to submit manual time cards if their handprints could not be read with a biometric scanner. Accordingly, the EEOC asserts, this same accommodation should have been offered to Mr. Butcher.
*Biblical reference to the Mark of the Beast may be found in Revelation 13:16-17.