“Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number—its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
While the Book of Revelations may have put the words into widespread circulation and became gospel for many devout Christians, for others, they just conjure up hazy images of rocking out to Iron Maiden in the ‘80s while drunk and/or stoned in their parents’ basement.
A Georgia man, however, apparently falls in the former category, as he’s filed a federal lawsuit against his former employer for firing him after he refused to wear an unholy number.
Billy Hyatt, a self-proclaimed pious Christian, asserts Pliant Corp. (now known as Berry Plastics Corp.) unfairly terminated him in 2009 when he declined to wear a sticker declaring the company had been accident-free for 666 days. The company issued stickers to its employees daily to celebrate its safe work environment.
Yet Hyatt’s nervousness grew over time as the number steadily rose during his tenure at the company into the 600s. Fearing that he’d have to wear the sticker, he proactively asked his manager for permission to not wear the sticker, and allegedly was told he would not have to. He also reportedly requested that he be allowed to take a vacation day on the day celebrating the company’s 666th accident-free day.
But when the fateful day finally came on March 12, 2009, Hyatt approached his manager to revisit his request to not wear the sticker, and reportedly was told his beliefs were “ridiculous,” and that he had a choice either to wear the sticker or accept a three-day suspension.
"The people that accept the mark, they're going to burn in hell," Hyatt said in a WSB-TV Atlanta interview. "There's no way that I'm going to put that on my body."
Hyatt accepted the suspension and was terminated days later at a human resources meeting. Following the firing, Hyatt filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Hyatt’s pending lawsuit seeks punitive damages and back pay.
“666—the number of the beast. Sacrifice is going on tonight.” Unfortunately, Hyatt likely won’t take solace in Steve Harris’ seemingly now-ironic lyrics.
Watch Hyatt’s WSB-TV interview.