DALTON, Ga.,None - A north Georgia factory worker says he was fired for not wearing a symbol he says represents the devil.
Billy Hyatt, of Tunnel Hill, filed a federal lawsuit alleging his religious rights were violated when a manager at Berry Plastics Corp. tried to force him to wear a sticker with the number 666 on it. Hyatt told Channel 2's Tom Jones in an exclusive interview that his faith forbids wearing what he called the "mark of the beast."
"I cannot. I will never, ever, ever put that number on my body," Hyatt said.
Hyatt is a staunch believer in the Bible, including what Revelations chapters 13 and 14 say about the number 666.
"The people that accept the mark, they're going to burn in hell," he told Jones. "There's no way that I'm going to put that on my body," he said
Hyatt said Berry employees must wear stickers with the number of days the company has gone without an accident. When the number approached 666, Hyatt said he asked not to be forced to wear the sticker. Hyatt told Jones he even requested a day off, or a vacation day, so he wouldn't be at work when employees had to wear the number. When the 666th day came and he refused to wear it he says he was suspended and then fired.
Hyatt says his boss told him it's just a sticker.
"Well it's not just a sticker. 666 is the mark of the beast," he told Jones.
A Berry Plastics spokesman sent an email to Jones saying the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Steve Mixon and Fenn Little are representing Hyatt in the case. Mixon told Jones the company should have respected Hyatt’s faith.
"All my client wanted was not to wear a sticker. This is not safety equipment or anything like that," Mixon said.
Hyatt said he would have hated to get into a fatal accident on the job wearing the 666 sticker and, “(have) the last thing that I did on earth is to accept the mark of the beast just so I could actually work."
Hyatt said he has been out of a job since he was fired last year and he's now getting government assistance. He told Jones he wants people to know he's simply a Christian and not crazy for taking this stance.