Half Million Dollars Awarded In Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

     The EEOC won its employment discrimination lawsuit against Consolidation Coal Company and its parent CONSOL Energy, Inc.  The employee worked in Defendants’ mine for over 35 years when a new hand-scanning method was installed to track when employees clocked in and out of work.  The employee informed Defendants that using the hand-scanning technology would violate his sincerely held religious beliefs as an Evangelical Christian.  In response, Defendants refused to offer any alternate means of tracking the employee’s attendance and time and told him that he would be disciplined and perhaps discharged if he did not use the hand-scanner.  The employee was forced to retire.  The jury found that Defendants had violated federal law by forcing a long-time employee to retire because they refused to accommodate his sincerely-held religious beliefs.  The Court issued an order awarding $586,860 in lost wages, benefits, and injunctive relief.  Defendants were also permanently enjoined from committing similar acts in the future in violation of Title VII.  Employers must grant reasonable accommodations for employee religious beliefs that conflict with work requirements pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unless the reasonable accommodation would create an undue hardship on the employer’s business.

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