Hand Scanning and Religious Accommodation

Let’s say you decide to invest in new technology to track employee time and attendance. How would you respond if an employee refused to use the new technology based on their religious beliefs? Would you fire the employee, or permit the employee to keep track of their time some other way? The EEOC recently obtained a jury verdict of more than $580,000 against an employer who refused to accommodate an employee who asserted that biometric hand scanning violated his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian. Specifically, the employee notified the employer that he believed there was a relationship between “hand-scanning technology and the ‘Mark of the Beast’ and the Antichrist discussed in the New Testament’s Book of Revelation” and requested an exemption from hand scanning. The employer refused to permit the employee to keep track of his attendance some other way, and threatened the employee with discipline, with the result that the employee was forced to retire. The EEOC press release does not discuss the employer’s arguments in response to the claim of failure to accommodate.


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