The Mark of the Beast and Religious Accommodation in the Workplace
This week, the United States Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari to hear a religious accommodation case from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, affirming a jury award for a long-term employee that retired because he believed that his employer’s requirement that he use a hand-scanner to clock into work would brand him with the “Mark of the Beast” (as referenced in the Book of Revelation in the Bible). Read the full opinion.
This case began back in 2012 in West Virginia. Plaintiff, an evangelical Christian, requested that he be allowed to use paper timesheets instead of the hand-scanning time clock that his employer was implementing. His request was denied. His employer asserted that he could use his left hand instead of his right hand in the scanner, as the Mark of the Beast is associated with the right hand and forehead. The employee was given an ultimatum, use the hand-scanner, or be terminated. He chose to retire. Subsequent to his retirement, he learned that the company accommodated two employees with hand injuries, who could not be scanned, by installing a keypad and providing codes to the employees to enter into the keypad. With this knowledge, the employee sought the assistance of the EEOC, which filed suit on his behalf.
Shortly thereafter, I co-authored an article that discussed not only the facts of the suit but also the framework under which religious accommodation claims are allowed to proceed. The framework for evaluation of religious accommodations has not changed since the article. Read the full article from The Florida Bar Journal.