Jury Awards $150K to Evangelical Christian Fired for Refusing 'Mark of the Beast'
An evangelical Christian who said he was forced to retire from his job as a general laborer at Consol Energy/Consolidation Coal Co.'s mining operations in Mannington, West Virginia, for his religious beliefs was awarded $150,000 in compensatory damages last Thursday by a federal jury.
Senior Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr. is also expected to determine other compensation owed to the ex-employee, Beverly R. Butcher, at a later hearing, according to a report in The Exponent Telegram.
The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on behalf of Butcher against Consol Energy in September 2013 after the company refused to accommodate him when he told them that submitting to a newly installed biometric hand-scanner that tracks employees' time and attendance conflicted with his religious belief, according to Law 360.
Court documents cited by Law 360 said the biometric hand-scanner evaluates a person's hand geometry and then stores the information to identify individuals in future scans.
Butcher told his superiors in June 2012 that he couldn't submit to the scan because he believes the technology has a connection to the "Mark of the Beast" and antichrist highlighted in the book of Revelation in the Bible. The company refused to exempt Butcher from the scanning, rejecting a manual alternative to tracking despite making exceptions for two workers who had missing fingers.
A letter written by the scanner's vendor, Recognition Systems Inc., was given to Butcher. It expressed the vendor's 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."
The situation left Butcher, an employee with the company for 35 years, with no option but to retire.
Consol Energy is expected to appeal the award.