A Tennessee man has quit his job because his W-2 tax form had the "Mark of the Beast" on it. And no, we’re not talking about the seal of the Internal Revenue Service.
Walter Slonopas, 52, of Clarksville, Tennessee, has finally had it with his employer, Contech Casting LLC, after it repeatedly identified him using the number 666, The Tennessean reports. The series of digits evoke Satan or the anti-Christ in the Bible's Book of Revelation, according to the Associated Press. Slonopas says when he first started working at Contech, he was given the number as a login. It was later changed at his request, only to pop up again on his W-2.
The company did try to help, but it's still worth noting that religious beliefs generally should be accommodated by employers in the U.S. Here's what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has to say on such matters:
The law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless doing so would cause more than a minimal burden on the operations of the employer's business. This means an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to the work environment that will allow an employee to practice his or her religion.
Theology professor Jay Phelan told USA Today that Slonopas's "company ought to find a way to cut him some slack," since the employee only wanted to avoid being "identified with the Antichrist." (As of 2008, roughly one-third of American adults identified themselves as "Born Again of Evangelical Christians," according to the American Religious Identification Survey.)
Slonopas, a born-again Christian for the past ten years, isn’t alone rejecting the ominous number, even if it means losing his paycheck. As The Tennessean points out, a Georgia factory worker sued his former employer after it fired him because he wouldn’t wear a sticker with 666 on it. In that case, the number was used to designate the number of consecutive days the factory had gone accident-free.
People have quit for other religious reasons too, including a nurse who resigned to protest her right to wear the crucifix to work, according to The Telegraph. A West Point cadet also resigned for religious reasons last year. However, his problem was too much religion, rather than too little.