The Associated Press reports that Billy E. Hyatt claims he was fired from Pliant Corp., now Berry Plastics Corp., after he refused to wear a sticker proclaiming that his factory had been accident-free for 666 days. In the lawsuit, which seeks punitive damages and back pay, Hyatt said the company forced him to choose between keeping his job and following his religious beliefs.
According to the AP, Hyatt had worked for the north Georgia plastics factory since June 2007, and like other employees, wore stickers each day that proclaimed how long the factory had gone without an accident. In early 2009 as the number of accident-free days crept into the 600s, he approached a manager and explained that wearing it would force him “to accept the mark of the beast and to be condemned to hell.” He said the manager assured him he wouldn’t have to wear the number.
However, when the day came on March 12, 2009, Hyatt sought a manager to discuss his request. He said he was told that his beliefs were “ridiculous” and that he should wear the sticker or serve a three-day suspension.
Hyatt took the three-day suspension, and was fired at a human resources meeting several days later. He then filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which determined he had the right to sue the company.Berry Plastics Corp. did not return several calls and e-mails from the AP seeking comment. It has yet to respond to the complaint in court.
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