A worker says he was fired for refusing to wear a sticker with the number “666” on it, designating the number of injury-free days at the plant. He wouldn’t wear the number because it’s a mark of the devil. Now he’s suing for religious discrimination.
Billy Hyatt worked at Berry Plastics in Rome, GA.
Every day, workers wore stickers with the number of days since the last employee injury.
As the facility reached day 600 — quite a feat — Hyatt started to get worried. He told his co-workers and supervisors Revelation 13:18 says “666” is “the mark of the beast,” and his religious beliefs forbade him from wearing the number.
Hyatt says his boss told him not to worry because there was a chance someone would be injured before day 666 (we hope the boss didn’t actually say that). His boss also allegedly offered to keep the safety calendar at 665 for two days, and then skip to 667.
But no one got injured, and day 666 came along. The boss told Hyatt to put the 666 sticker on. Hyatt says he asked for a religious accommodation, but his boss refused and said if he didn’t put on the sticker, he’d get a three-day suspension.
Hyatt chose the suspension. When he returned to work, he was fired.
Now his lawsuit against the company says he was subjected to harsher punishment for missing work because of his religious belief about the number 666.
Hyatt seeks back and front pay, benefits, and costs. The lawsuit doesn’t say if he wants his job back.
OSHA has made it clear lately that it isn’t in favor of safety incentive programs that reward zero injuries because they can lead to unreported injuries so employees get the promised reward. So if that isn’t enough reason to scrap such safety programs, maybe this worker’s objection is.
Or, at least scrap the program on day 665.