A former Consol Energy Inc. employee who believes biometric hand scanning will lead to the “Mark of the Beast” predicted in Revelations will receive $586,860 in damages, a West Virginia federal judge ruled Aug. 21.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Consol in 2013, claiming that it failed to accommodate Beverly R. Butcher Jr.’s religious beliefs. According to the suit he is an Evangelical Christian.
Butcher, 58, retired in 2012 when the company installed a hand scanner to log employees in and out of its Robinson Run Mine complex near Shinnston, W.Va. He objected to having either of his hands scanned and asked to manually log his hours instead, the lawsuit said.
A federal jury in Clarksburg, W.Va., agreed with Butcher in January that the Cecil-based company had failed to accommodate his religious belief and awarded him $150,000 in compensatory damages. U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp last week added $436,860.74 for back pay and front pay.
“This victory underscores two important American values: religious freedom and inclusiveness,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez.
Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., which bought Robinson Run Mine and four other Consol mines in West Virginia in 2013, will appeal the decision, said company spokesman Gary Broadbent.
“The record is clear that Mr. Butcher failed to follow the contractually required dispute resolution procedures,” he said. “Further, Consolidation Coal Company made a reasonable accommodation for his religious beliefs and never discriminated against Mr. Butcher.”
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