Skip to main content

A Mound man has won $65,000 after he sued his employer for firing him because he refused to be fingerprinted due to "sincerely held" religious beliefs. 

AscensionPoint Recovery Services (APRS), a Minnesota-based estate and probate debt recovery company, agreed to pay Henry Harrington, 37, $28,000 in back wages and $37,000 in compensatory damages to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discrimination lawsuit, court documents show.

APRS had requested its employees be fingerprinted for a background check requirement of one of its clients in 2017, court documents say. But Harrington, a Christian, told the company having his fingerprints captured was contrary to his religious beliefs.

Instead of accommodating Harrington's request to be exempted from the requirement, APRS fired him. The company did this without asking the client if there was an exemption available as a religious accommodation, and despite there being alternatives to fingerprinting, the EEOC said.

The lawsuit said APRS violated federal law when it fired Harrington, noting the Title VII Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on religion, and requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. 

“The law requires employers to consider accommodations to the religious beliefs and practices of their employees, and to provide an accommodation unless it presents an undue hardship,” said Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in the Chicago District Office. “We commend APRS for working with the agency to reach an early resolution to this lawsuit.”

The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota after attempting to resolve the issue through a conciliation process. 

In addition to the financial relief, the settlement requires APRS to revise its policies related to religious discrimination and provide training on Title VII to its employees and make regular reports to the EEOC regarding compliance with the court's three-year consent decree. 

Harrington in June declined to tell the Star Tribune more details about his faith or answer questions about the lawsuit. 

A similar lawsuit was filed in Pennsylvania in 2017. Bonnie Katie, a school bus driver, refused to be fingerprinted for a background check, saying doing would leave "the mark of the devil" on her and prevent her from getting into heaven, court documents said. She based her beliefs on passages from the Bible and the preaching of her father, a Christian Evangelist.

Katie, who worked for the bus company since 2001, was told in 2015 she had to be fingerprinted due to a new law. She refused and was denied unemployment compensation, Penn Live said. The lawsuit was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 12.20.52 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 75 of 87 Minnesota counties

Transmission levels are still high throughout Minnesota.

helicopter-186718_1280

Man, 62, dies after his truck leaves road, hits tree

The Wisconsin man died after being airlifted to Regions Hospital.

pexels - beer buy fridge store liquor

Municipal liquor stores in 24 MN cities could be in jeopardy

These sites reported losses in two of the last three years, triggering a mandatory hearing.

Mats Zuccarello

2 Minnesota Wild players test positive for COVID-19

Both players will be unavailable Thursday night when the Wild face the expansion Kraken.

Target deals weekly ad - 10.31.2021

Target reveals first Black Friday deals, available next week

There are some steep discounts to be had, even though Black Friday is nearly a month away.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 10.10.36 AM

'Dancing with the Stars: Live!' coming to Minnesota in February

The show's professional dancers will be at Mystic Lake.

Train derailment Fairmont screengrab

WATCH: Video shows terrifying moment train derails in Fairmont

A large chunk of the track appears to come off just before the derailment.

brewery

Grocery store beer sales? MN House hears nearly 30 proposals to update liquor laws

Calls to change the state's liquor laws grew louder during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 7.57.25 AM

3 people found dead inside home in Farmington

Police were conducting a welfare check when they found three people dead inside the home.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 7.26.58 AM

Headstones pushed over, smashed by vandals at cemetery in Alexandria

Police have released images of a vehicle they believe is connected to the case.

249680859_3960236007411518_889783566561667391_n

Puppies abandoned at Chaska golf course

It's illegal to abandon animals in Minnesota.

Related

derek chauvin

Corrections officers of color file lawsuit, say they weren't allowed to guard Chauvin

Eight corrections officers at Ramsey County jail filed the lawsuit on Tuesday.

benihana golden valley

St. Paul school board member kicked out of restaurant, alleges discrimination

The diners said they had asked their table to be cleaned but the manager refused and told them to leave, before calling the police.

apartment fire

Charges: Man lit apartment building on fire after encounter with tenant

The man went to the tenant's apartment and started his door on fire, charges state.

2

Gallery: Mound home offers panoramic lake views for $1.7M

There are floor-to-ceiling windows in many rooms.

Ambulance Hennepin Healthcare

Charges: Fingerprint on pop can leads to arrest of shooting suspect

The victim's left arm is paralyzed and she has been unable to work since the June 29 incident.

Mounds view 7 - crime scene

Man, deputy involved in fatal Mounds View incident are identified

Officials have also identified the deputy involved.