Fair Work Ombusdman Report - Australia: CoS in breach

Miss Pert

Silver Meritorious Patron
Funny thing is, I worked at the Leichhardt Mission, part time, for approximately 5 years. I think I earned more $ per hour in my time there working 6 hours a week than I did working at the Sydney org working 40 to 90 hours per week for 2 1/2 years.

While not what we all expected the report is still a win, and there are still others complaints to be handled it could be they will make a difference. Especially when part of their recruitment push was to tell people how much money they could be making once they became an Idle Org.

We've made an important step and now it's back to ...... tick tock, tick tock..... for a little longer :coolwink:

As I mentioned above, I was on staff at Liechhardt Mission for a few years before joining Syd Day staff but all this talk of "volunteers" and "employees," plus a chat I had with someone else about it, reminded me of when I was recruited for Leichhardt. I was only prepared to give 6 hours a week of my time and I offered to volunteer this time. At first they accepted this but I wasn't interested in working the front lines and wanted to be Treas Sec. Once I said that I was told that I could not hold that post as a volunteer so if I wanted that position I would need to sign a contract and become a staff member, which I did but I still told them I would not work more than 6 hours a week.

Me thinks that is a clear enough differentiation. :yes:
 

Purple Rain

Crusader
Yeah I'd really like to hear an explanation on the freeloaders thing too.

Also it has been on my mind about the staff contract and the volunteer agreements (forget what the latter is called off-hand).

There is policy for volunteers. It’s in green vol one (and NO I won’t look it up! I've given that shit up for good!)

There are staff members with "full privileges". They sign the “staff contract”. In my experience staff members were aware they were staff and would be monetarily compensated, etc. Then there are volunteers (which is covered in policy) and they sign a volunteers agreement thingie and don’t expect anything except a warm fluffy internal self-satisfying and often smug, glow. Also in my experience, the volunteer agreement thingies were used as a type of runway for people who could not commit to a full staff contract. "Can't join staff? Become a volunteer until you can!"

So if the staff (who sign the staff contract) are considered volunteers and not therefore subject to any employment laws what are the real volunteers (who sign a volunteers agreement thingie)? Chopped onions?

A volunteer per policy doesn’t get any monetary compensation nor any “free” (throat clearing) services. Contracted staff members get a few coins thrown their way from time to time and some “free” (bugger this throat of mine!) services – which they get relentlessly harassed to pay back should they have an original thought and leave before the draconian staff contract is completed.

A staff member is a staff member. A volunteer is a volunteer. Per policy. The former is informed they will get “privileges” (monetary compensation and some services). A volunteer knows they are a volunteer and will not get monetary compensation or services. Per policy.

Has anyone else thought about this? The friggin cult itself separates out staff from volunteers. Per policy.

Exactly! If it was Toyota or McDonalds that were busted remunerating their staff that way and setting those schedules people would be saying WTF???!!! about findings that said, "Yes, you're a corporation, yes, you're subject to the Fair Work Act, yes, you're employing people, by the way how about you have a think about doing things a little differently?" It is WTF! A blind man can see from their own terminology that 'staff' are 'staff'. Funny about that. The Fair Work Ombudsman would be telling ANY other corporation, "Fix it. Now. Or else." What contract do you think they'll be signing someone up on tomorrow? How many people are mysteriously not going to be found to be staff in Scientology's own audit?? FFS!! Would every single Toyota employee have to prove that he didn't intend to volunteer his time for 60 hours a week for $10 a week. I don't think so. I still think it's a joke.
 

Cherished

Silver Meritorious Patron
As I mentioned above, I was on staff at Liechhardt Mission for a few years before joining Syd Day staff but all this talk of "volunteers" and "employees," plus a chat I had with someone else about it, reminded me of when I was recruited for Leichhardt. I was only prepared to give 6 hours a week of my time and I offered to volunteer this time. At first they accepted this but I wasn't interested in working the front lines and wanted to be Treas Sec. Once I said that I was told that I could not hold that post as a volunteer so if I wanted that position I would need to sign a contract and become a staff member, which I did but I still told them I would not work more than 6 hours a week.

Me thinks that is a clear enough differentiation. :yes:
Awesome evidence.
 

Happy Days

Silver Meritorious Patron
I encourage individuals who have been employed by the CoS in any capacity to contact Slater & Gordon and become part of the class action and also put a formal complaint into Fair Work. Let these two organisations determine if you have a case or not and whether the statutes apply as there are different award instruments for state and federal employment.

As the layers are peeled back on the employment practices of the CoS, truth will be revealed and there will be no place to hide.

The more information that's provided the clearer the picture :)
 

Free to shine

Shiny & Free
Exactly! If it was Toyota or McDonalds that were busted remunerating their staff that way and setting those schedules people would be saying WTF???!!! about findings that said, "Yes, you're a corporation, yes, you're subject to the Fair Work Act, yes, you're employing people, by the way how about you have a think about doing things a little differently?" It is WTF! A blind man can see from their own terminology that 'staff' are 'staff'. Funny about that. The Fair Work Ombudsman would be telling ANY other corporation, "Fix it. Now. Or else." What contract do you think they'll be signing someone up on tomorrow? How many people are mysteriously not going to be found to be staff in Scientology's own audit?? FFS!! Would every single Toyota employee have to prove that he didn't intend to volunteer his time for 60 hours a week for $10 a week. I don't think so. I still think it's a joke.

The difference is the secrecy and the lies. People working for normal organisations have all the information and are not brainwashed and pressured into believing their job is saving the planet. And evidence is needed ...most people who leave staff disappear into the woodwork and have not been prepared to stand alone to take on Goliath. Now the door is open and the sunlight is streaming in, and the evidence will come to show that scio should be treated like any other organisation. When you are moving and cleaning out under a big rock, it takes some hard work... and then watch the cockroaches scurry:)
 

Outethicsofficer

Silver Meritorious Patron
The difference is the secrecy and the lies. People working for normal organisations have all the information and are not brainwashed and pressured into believing their job is saving the planet. And evidence is needed ...most people who leave staff disappear into the woodwork and have not been prepared to stand alone to take on Goliath. Now the door is open and the sunlight is streaming in, and the evidence will come to show that scio should be treated like any other organisation. When you are moving and cleaning out under a big rock, it takes some hard work... and then watch the cockroaches scurry:)

Nicely put Free
None of us have given up on this, quite the contrary, it is a process and we consider we are just at the opening phases.

Cheers
James
 

HeadPotter

New Member
Personally I think the true value of this case and others that have been raised is that they are causing something to happen that has never happened before.

Before this current "internet" era and the wide distribution of information, situations like this could be dealt with by the church by simply lying, cheating, strealing or resorting to a good ol' baseball bat routine.

This was always successful because it could generally be achieved under the cover of darkness and without leaving footprints, fingerprints or records of what transpired. Whatever the event, the "situation" would quietly pass into history unnoticed.

These days whenever the church has to respond to such "flaps" they are regularly having to go on record as to what their policy is, what their stance is on anything and these are all being recorded and noted.

A classic example is the recorded church statements that Fair Game was cancelled yet on an almost daily basis we see Fair Game in its full glory being played out on Rathbuns doorstep.

Its safe to lie only when the original event you lied about goes away, but if your lies are being recorded and the original events (and new ones similar) keep arising your record of lies works heavily against you.

Step by step they get squeezed harder and harder until their position gets exposed for what it is and usually because of some related issue rather than the actual one they established a position on.

Ultimately you end up with events like Virginia on national Australian TV stating that being a staff member is akin to being a volunteer fire fighter... a proposition so full of holes and illogic it defies description!

Hubbard said lies make you stupid and in this case I have to defer to him because that statement by her alone was world class stupid.

The FWO has forced them to once again take a position on a range of issues and it will mostly be in the raising of related issues where the fun will truly begin.
 

mate

Patron Meritorious
Hi sallydannce, you make a very very important point that in the GO and no doubt OSA, the CofS does have a distinct policy on actual volunteers, which is not met by recent and current org staff. Maybe an ex-OSA staff or volunteer would like to provide some details and any policy references they have access to or recall.

David.



Yeah I'd really like to hear an explanation on the freeloaders thing too.

Also it has been on my mind about the staff contract and the volunteer agreements (forget what the latter is called off-hand).

There is policy for volunteers. It’s in green vol one (and NO I won’t look it up! I've given that shit up for good!)

There are staff members with "full privileges". They sign the “staff contract”. In my experience staff members were aware they were staff and would be monetarily compensated, etc. Then there are volunteers (which is covered in policy) and they sign a volunteers agreement thingie and don’t expect anything except a warm fluffy internal self-satisfying and often smug, glow. Also in my experience, the volunteer agreement thingies were used as a type of runway for people who could not commit to a full staff contract. "Can't join staff? Become a volunteer until you can!"

So if the staff (who sign the staff contract) are considered volunteers and not therefore subject to any employment laws what are the real volunteers (who sign a volunteers agreement thingie)? Chopped onions?

A volunteer per policy doesn’t get any monetary compensation nor any “free” (throat clearing) services. Contracted staff members get a few coins thrown their way from time to time and some “free” (bugger this throat of mine!) services – which they get relentlessly harassed to pay back should they have an original thought and leave before the draconian staff contract is completed.

A staff member is a staff member. A volunteer is a volunteer. Per policy. The former is informed they will get “privileges” (monetary compensation and some services). A volunteer knows they are a volunteer and will not get monetary compensation or services. Per policy.

Has anyone else thought about this? The friggin cult itself separates out staff from volunteers. Per policy.
 

Terril park

Sponsor
Hi sallydannce, you make a very very important point that in the GO and no doubt OSA, the CofS does have a distinct policy on actual volunteers, which is not met by recent and current org staff. Maybe an ex-OSA staff or volunteer would like to provide some details and any policy references they have access to or recall.

David.

From new green vol 1:-

SECRETARIAL TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 9 April 1959

VOLUNTARY HELP

" The person must also sign an agreement [ which can be in dispatch form] stating that he wishes to Volunteer his services, the
approximate length of time he is volunteering for and stating clearly
that it is voluntary help and that it is understood that no remuneration
of any kind is expected or will be given."

Signed L. Ron Hubbard.
 

Happy Days

Silver Meritorious Patron
Here's the reference and yes FWO did receive this.
 

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Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
I has to say I jest LOVE it when CoS's own evidence damns them all to hell and back ....
 

Petey C

Silver Meritorious Patron
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (www.abs.gov.au), the minimum wage in Australia over the period 2000-11 was as below. I am not a statistician, but multiplying that crudely by 52 weeks gives the following numbers:


Wkly minimum $ Annual $ (x 52)

2000 $ 797 $ 41,423
2011 $ 1,020 $ 53,040

I understand there are a lot of subtleties about how an annual calculation is done here (usually on the basis of 26 fortnights per year plus adjustment for the occasional year when there is more than one fortnight). So this is a CRUDE analysis using the minimum wage as its basis.

But it does give an idea of how much an ex is likely to receive if they approach the Fair Work Ombudsman and their claim is successful. Example, if someone spent the years in CoS 2006-2011 they might get around $400K in back wages for that period.

This doesn't even include the 9% superannuation employers are obliged to pay in superannuation levies since 1986. That goes into another fund accessible when the employee is of retirement age.

Fair recompense, I reckon, for those who have spent their years toiling for CoS. The law is the law.
 
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Purple Rain

Crusader
That is a good write-up, but I still think the FWO 'Casey Anthonyed' Case #7 big time. Worst 'where are your glasses ref?' moment ever. Why don't we just send all our kids down the mines again and call them volunteers?! Stupid decision. Really bad call.
 

Albion

Patron with Honors
That is a good write-up, but I still think the FWO 'Casey Anthonyed' Case #7 big time. Worst 'where are your glasses ref?' moment ever. Why don't we just send all our kids down the mines again and call them volunteers?! Stupid decision. Really bad call.
It's difficult to understand the decision in this particular case, I agree. I think Liz Anderson's explanation that the FWO only wants to go with sure-fire cases gives some indication as to what went wrong, but what is frustrating is that we don't know what their reasons were for rejecting the case because they don't explain in any detail. It may be that the Andersons get a better result with the class action lawsuit.

One thing I forgot to mention in my piece is that senators will have the chance to question the Fair Work Ombudsman during the Senate estimates hearings next month, October 17-21. I doubt the ombudsman will discuss individual cases in any detail, but we may get a clearer idea of their thinking.
 

Purple Rain

Crusader
It's difficult to understand the decision in this particular case, I agree. I think Liz Anderson's explanation that the FWO only wants to go with sure-fire cases gives some indication as to what went wrong, but what is frustrating is that we don't know what their reasons were for rejecting the case because they don't explain in any detail. It may be that the Andersons get a better result with the class action lawsuit.

One thing I forgot to mention in my piece is that senators will have the chance to question the Fair Work Ombudsman during the Senate estimates hearings next month, October 17-21. I doubt the ombudsman will discuss individual cases in any detail, but we may get a clearer idea of their thinking.

Oh, that is interesting! I really think they should have to justify their decisions to the public. Judges are expected to give their reasoning, and that is an important part of justice being seen to be done - to have that transparency, even if you think they got it dead wrong. At the moment, I can't help it, I just look at that decision and go, 'Well, OSA must have found his dirt - just like they always do,' because it makes no sense to me any other way. How could that case NOT be sure-fire?
 
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