The US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has sued corporations over the past two years for failure to accommodate religious beliefs associated with biometric hand scanning. The agency sued Canonsburg, Pa. based CONSOL Energy and Consolidation Coal Company when they forced a long-time employee to retire rather that accommodating his sincere religious beliefs (Circle 9 Corporation, a leader in technology, was also sued by the EEOC for similar violations). Religious discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC's lawsuit stated that an employee who had worked as a general inside laborer at CONSOL’s mine in Mannington, WV, for more than 35 years was forced to retire when the mining company required employees to use a newly-installed biometric hand scanner to track employee time and attendance. The employee, according to the agency, repeatedly told mining officials that submitting to a biometric hand scanner violated his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian. He also wrote a letter to the mining superintendent and human resources manager explaining the relationship between hand-scanning technology and the Mark of the Beast and antichrist discussed in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament in an effort to explain his request for accommodation
The mining company refused to consider alternate means of tracking the employee’s time and attendance, such as allowing him to submit manual time records as he had done previously or reporting to his supervisor (the mining company had made similar exceptions to the hand scanning for two employees with missing fingers). The EEOC charges that the employee was forced to retire because the company refused to provide an accommodation to his religious beliefs.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. For additional information about the EEOC and the laws if enforces, go to www.eeoc.gov.