We reported in a previous edition of CAI’s Management Newsletter (January 5th, 2015) that the US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had sued CONSOL Energy and Consolidation Coal Company for failure to accommodate religious beliefs associated with biometric hand scanning. The EEOC's lawsuit stated that an employee who had worked as a general inside laborer at CONSOL’s mine in Mannington, WV for over 35 years was forced to retire when the mining companies 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 that submitting to the hand scanning would make him take on the "Mark of the Beast" and condemn him to eternal damnation.
Following a trial on the merits of the lawsuit, a federal jury found that the two companies had violated federal anti-discrimination law by failing to accommodate the employee's religious objections to use of the biometric hand-scanning system. The jury awarded the employee $150,000 in compensatory damages; however, the entire award is yet to come. Following the jury's verdict, the court ordered the EEOC to file its recommendations for back pay, front pay, and other damages for determination by the court.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. For additional information about the EEOC and the laws if enforces, go to www.eeoc.gov.