Lawsuit filed against organized scientology’s labor violations

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
I just read the whole complaint. Great stuff. It's a "simple" case, i.e. no new legal interpretations, no vast number of witnesses, no huge number of documents. The attorney requested a jury trial, and estimated it would take 5 days.

Paul
 

sandygirl

Silver Meritorious Patron
Utterly Fantastic!
I predict:
A) The church will end up settling this one as the more exposure Marc recieves (he is quite credible) the worse the church will look in the public eye (if possible)

B) As we speak, legal is drawing up some bullshit for every staff member and SO member to sign RIGHT NOW to cover their asses for future litigation

C) This lawsuit will be used to raise EVEN MORE CASH as "proof" of the SPs taking over the planet (the sad thing is they will probably get it)
 

Lohan2008

Gold Meritorious Patron
good arguement

wow, looks like a solid case, let us know how it goes.
wishing the best of luck & all that
 

me myself & i

Patron Meritorious
Sweet. May the pressure, the abuse and the neglect end!

But long live the Tech!

The 'Technology' of Scientology eradicated the notion that mental illness was real. It was merely engrams all along!!!!!! What did his preface to DMSMH say? Something about 200 cases, all healed?

Questioner to Ron: Where are the case files of those 200 stories?

L. Ron Hubbard Aw now, just pick up the cans and we can fix you up in a jiffy.

The worlds just slowly catching up to Ron.

And more importantly, to his bogus tech.

mmi

Given the populace of this board I realize I may be banned for this post.
 

ScudMuffin

Silver Meritorious Patron
Utterly Fantastic!
I predict:
A) The church will end up settling this one as the more exposure Marc recieves (he is quite credible) the worse the church will look in the public eye (if possible)

Nah, this ain't going to get settled. This is one flap they can't buy their way out of. Think of the state of the Co$ when they have to compensate, raise pay rates, pay out back pay, start paying medical/dental insurance, back pay for the medical/dental insurance, overtime rates, get fined by the USA equiv of the Health and Saftey Executive, have all FLDs publically nullified/debunked officially, find themselfs getting vetted left right and centre, have to give people decent food, so on and so fourth.

Too much at stake to settle this one.
 

DavidM

Patron with Honors
Wonderful, wonderful news! Kudos to everyone who helped make this happen, this could bring real change.
 

AnonLover

Patron Meritorious
Additonal Info

This latest followup tidbit is important and didnt seem to be over here and i thought it should be...

LarryBren said:
Blownforgood has now come out and spoken on this suit giving some additional information.

He also provides an email address where people interested in possibly being a part of this action can send their information.

In any case, here is the link to BFG's post on clambake:

Operation Clambake Message Board :: View topic - BLOWN FOR GOOD LAWSUIT IN CALIFORNIA
 

lionheart

Gold Meritorious Patron
Oooh! We could have a game! :D

A competition to see which government we can get to force the CofS to behave decently or quit the Universe!

We've got the Americans with this lawsuit, we've got the Brtits with their Minimum Wage project and we've got the Aussies with their Senate Inquiry into Charities.

Any other counties represented on ESMB with actions going on against the cult?

We could have a race to see which country succeeds first! Not that this is an activist site, of course! :whistling:
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
B) As we speak, legal is drawing up some bullshit for every staff member and SO member to sign RIGHT NOW to cover their asses for future litigation

I don't think it is possible to waive one's labor rights here. In other words, an SO member will not be able to sign bits of paper making it legally fine for the CofS to insist on 100 hour work weeks, beat up the staff, pay 30 cents an hour etc. etc.

They can get the staff to sign bits of paper making it seem to the staff member that those rights have been waived, but that is not the same thing at all.

Paul
 

Div6

Crusader
Nah, this ain't going to get settled. This is one flap they can't buy their way out of. Think of the state of the Co$ when they have to compensate, raise pay rates, pay out back pay, start paying medical/dental insurance, back pay for the medical/dental insurance, overtime rates, get fined by the USA equiv of the Health and Saftey Executive, have all FLDs publically nullified/debunked officially, find themselfs getting vetted left right and centre, have to give people decent food, so on and so fourth.

Too much at stake to settle this one.


They are screwed. If they settle it just opens the door for every other ex-staff member to file the same suit. If they don't, then they will lose in court and have a precedent for other ex-staff to come forward and sue.

And think of this....not only will the church have to pony up the staff pay, they will also br liable for Social Security and FICA payments....
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
They are screwed.

Maybe. An alternative is for them to do the usual, i.e. generate torrents of legal flim-flam to try and cloud the issues, meanwhile trying to suborn the court officers and jury members if a jury trial is granted.

They are not going to roll over on this one.

Paul
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Re" Headly lawsuit. If your rights were violated, contact...

This latest followup tidbit is important and didnt seem to be over here and i thought it should be...
quote:
Originally Posted by LarryBren
Blownforgood has now come out and spoken on this suit giving some additional information.

He also provides an email address where people interested in possibly being a part of this action can send their information.

In any case, here is the link to BFG's post on clambake:

Operation Clambake Message Board :: View topic - BLOWN FOR GOOD LAWSUIT IN CALIFORNIA

Thanks. I'm going to repeat this because I noticed in this thread that some missed it.

Blownforgood wrote:
"If anyone reading this from the sidelines thinks that they too might have had some rights that were violated, you are probably right. You may have rights you did not even know about. Any people seriously interested in this can write to [email protected] . You must provide your full name and details regarding your employment history. If it appears that your rights might have been violated, you will be given additional information on what you might do about it. "

Mary McConnell
 

Fancy

Patron Meritorious
Way back in the 70's I was staff till I tried for the SO but did not stay. I do not recall getting much in pay. I when I came back was told that they were not a rehab center and let me go.

Because I could not stand to do the files which people thew at me and was never in order. I got upset over it. Stupid me should not have done it in the first place.

I was not too bright then. It was a put down for sure.

Now that is all they try to say they are with the rehab programs out there in the church.

I once said they needed fancy PR. Now I am sorry I said that.

My mom worked for them and once got 60 cents or something like that for a week. I recall 75 cents or something of the like.

After that even when I tried to join staff something in me would not let me and I always backed out of doing it.
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Fancy was too smart for Scientology.

Way back in the 70's I was staff till I tried for the SO but did not stay. I do not recall getting much in pay. I when I came back was told that they were not a rehab center and let me go.

Because I could not stand to do the files which people thew at me and was never in order. I got upset over it. Stupid me should not have done it in the first place.

I was not too bright then. It was a put down for sure.

Now that is all they try to say they are with the rehab programs out there in the church.

I once said they needed fancy PR. Now I am sorry I said that.

My mom worked for them and once got 60 cents or something like that for a week. I recall 75 cents or something of the like.

After that even when I tried to join staff something in me would not let me and I always backed out of doing it.

You were too smart for these people and you were blessed to have gotten out of their clutches. Truely :)

Mary
 

Fancy

Patron Meritorious
I got out the hard way as many do.

I paid the price for not figuring it out.

I mostly wanted to join as I could not afford auditing but after I did join the SO and was on staff I had an idea what it was like and my last attempt was in 2000 just before I was tossed.

The one video of T. Davis said they don't look down on people is a lie. They looked down on me and why I was tossed. Because I did get angry when I figured out something was not wrong and not corrected.

I also found out my former auditor of that time also has found out the truth as well. I once sent him a CD with stuff on it about the truth and I don't know if it was that that woke him up but I found he is awake.

Barb

You were too smart for these people and you were blessed to have gotten out of their clutches. Truely :)

Mary
 

Free to shine

Shiny & Free
http://ocmb.xenu.net/ocmb/viewtopic.php?t=29899&postorder=asc

OSA - BETTER BRING YOUR "A" GAME!!!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks to all those that have given their support over the past few months. It was greatly appreciated. It has been a busy year.

By now, most of you may have seen that I have brought a case against the Scientology enterprise in California.

As Larry Brennan mentioned in a post somewhere, there were a few others that were also part of the initial complaints that were filed. These names were intentionally listed to test what would happen with these people. Within hours of the complaints being filed, these people’s families were contacted and eventually some of these people would drop out of the case. The intimidation was swift and effective. This was expected and predicted. It was also illegal. So be it. It just made the case that much stronger. Additional evidence that backs up the case is created by the Scientology enterprise daily.

How many former employees of any company do you know that have private investigators at their 2 year old son’s preschool? Or, that have private investigators visiting friends and clients of a former employee?

The truth is, right now the Scientology enterprise pays out around $250,000 per week in wages. If (when) they lose this lawsuit, they will be paying 4 million per week to existing staff alone, not to mention past staff members that are owed unpaid wages.

Also, just to show that this has NOTHING to do with religion, most current churches pay their staff minimum wages. This is not something new. In fact, the Coalition of Churches and its many members have issued statements that they support the minimum wage standards so that there are no confusions on how THEY pay their employees. The current employees of the Scientology enterprises are being paid 1/20th of what the lowest paying average Church pays.

Some would say that I have the upper hand. I have spent nearly 20 years studying Scientology and how they operate. They have only just begun to study Blownforgood.

So OSA, while you have been watching my house, following me to the grocery store, bugging my friends, digging through my trash and taking pictures outside my company, I have been doing my homework for the upcoming work at hand.

If anyone reading this from the sidelines thinks that they too might have had some rights that were violated, you are probably right. You may have rights you did not even know about. Any people seriously interested in this can write to [email protected] . You must provide your full name and details regarding your employment history. If it appears that your rights might have been violated, you will be given additional information on what you might do about it.

Until next time...
BFG
 

Free to shine

Shiny & Free
http://ocmb.xenu.net/ocmb/viewtopic.php?t=29899&postorder=asc&start=15

Scott Pilutik gives a brilliant overview of the impending lawsuit:

http://realitybasedcommunity.net/archive/2009/01/marc_headley_v_1.php

Marc Headley v. Church of Scientology International


A potentially devastating lawsuit [PDF] was filed by Marc Headley in Los Angeles County Court on January 5 against the Church of Scientology International (CSI), alleging that CSI violated California labor law by failing to pay Headley, and others similarly situated, minimum wage or for the overtime he routinely worked as an employee of Golden Era Productions, an unincorporated entity which is chiefly responsible for producing and selling Scientology's promotional videos and materials. Headley estimates that he was paid approximately 39 cents an hour for the time he worked at Golden Era between 1989 to 2005, during which time he sometimes worked 100+ hour, 7 day weeks uncompensated for his overtime.

Headley also alleges that he was forced by Scientology to sign various documents, under duress, acknowledging that he had no rights as an employee, and that he was not given copies of these documents.

Headley's claims are hardly shocking to anyone even vaguely familiar with Scientology, who could tell you that the working conditions for a Scientology staff member are routinely reported to be atrocious by ex-members. What is surprising is that someone has finally seen fit to address it, given the extreme hurdles facing anyone who chooses to sue Scientology.

The complaint anticipates Scientology's likely legal response--in short, that it is a religious organization exempt from ordinary labor laws. The suit's response to this anticipated defense is that religious organizations are not exempt in all instances from labor laws relating to minimum wage and relies heavily on the US Supreme Court case Alamo Found'n v. Secy. of Labor, 471 US 290 (1985) in support of its argument, which I'll now briefly describe below.

The Secretary of Labor brought suit against Tony Alamo's fundamentalist Christian church, alleging that it operated numerous commercial entities and in doing so violated minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Alamos operated "service stations, retail clothing and grocery outlets, hog farms, roofing and electrical construction companies, a recordkeeping company, a motel, and companies engaged in the production and distribution of candy," and staffed these businesses with "drug addicts, derelicts, or criminals before their conversion and rehabilitation." The Court found that the Alamos were subject to ordinary labor laws because (1) the church was, under the FLSA (specifically 29 USC sec. 203(s)), "an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce"; and (2) its workers were "employees" within the meaning of the Act.

The Court rejected the Alamos' argument that it was not en enterprise within the meaning of the Act because it was a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, noting that religious and non-profit organizations are not exempted by FLSA. The Code of Federal Regulations specifically states that

"where [religious or non-profit] organizations engage in ordinary commercial activities, such as operating a printing and publishing plant, the business activities will be treated under the Act the same as when they are performed by the ordinary business enterprise."

The Alamos further argued that their church should be exempt because its commercial activities are "infused with a religious purpose," but the Court noted that the lower courts had correctly disposed of this argument too, where it found that the Alamos' "businesses serve the general public in competition with ordinary commercial enterprises," and thus permitting the organization to pay substandard wages would give it an unfair advantage over competitors.

Scientology's Golden Era Productions shares some similarities with the Alamos' commercial enterprises but also some differences. It's not clear whether those differences will lead a court to distinguish Headley's suit from Alamo. It's also not clear whether the fact that Headley is not suing under the FLSA but instead makes an unfair competition claim under California's Business & Professional Code (sec. 17203), and California Labor Law will permit the Court to treat this case differently than similar cases, most/all of which fall under the FLSA (and thus Alamo). From my limited research, there is some interplay between California labor law (which is often described as "complex") and the FLSA. (I presume that the absence of a FLSA claim is indicative of Headley's lawyer's desire to keep the case in California state court as opposed to federal court.)

As to the similarities between Golden Era Productions and Alamo, they both drastically underpaid and overworked their employees while providing them with housing and every other amenity imaginable. However, the individual businesses in Alamo operated in secular spheres--that is, their service stations, retail clothing stores, and motels directly and unfairly competed with corresponding secular entities, for whom the option to underpay its workers did not exist. Scientology will no doubt argue that Golden Era is engaged in promotional activities as opposed to commercial, and there is therefore no risk of unfair competition--it does not compete because it is the only entity that produces in L Ron Hubbard videos, and its adherents the only targeted class, unlike, say, a motel, which would target every demographic.

The response to this, I would think, is to note that the type of work Headley was engaged in at Golden Era--video production--is work also typically performed by secular entities, who otherwise might benefit from being contracted by Scientology for this work, and are thus in fact harmed in an unfair competition sense. The issue is not the content of the business's output or the output's target audience, in other words, but rather the type of business and whether there is a secular analogue capable and available to perform the same work.

This notion has some legal precedent too--In Mitchell v. Pilgrim Holiness Church Corp., 210 F.2d 879 (7th Cir. 1954), a religious organization operated and staffed a printing press, from which it printed "pamphlets, leaflets, magazines and other printed material most of which is of a religious nature," and argued because religious message was not commerce, it should be exempt from the FLSA. The Fifth Circuit concluded that the religious content of the pamphlets was of no consequence, and that "[there is no] intimation that the minimum standard of living as fixed by the Act is not just as necessary to the health and well-being of the defendant's employees as it is to the health and well-being of the employees of any other printing establishment."

Mitchell is almost perfectly analogous to Golden Era, which too is a publisher of religious material utilizing underpaid labor. California is not bound to follow a federal Fifth Circuit decision, of course, but with so little case law speaking directly to this issue, it seems likely that the Court will at least confront Mitchell, if not be persuaded by it.

On Scientology's side, there is little support in case law for the argument they will inevitably make, should the case proceed to trial. Mitchell has been distinguished but once, by McClure v. The Salvation Army, 460 F.2d 553, 558 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 896 (1972). McClure did not concern minimum wage provisions, however, but was rather a wrongful termination claim brought by a fired a church minister. The Fifth Circuit determined that the minister was not an employee under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and further, that finding that the minister was wrongfully terminated would necessitate an impermissible encroachment into the Salvation Army's right to free exercise or religion. McLure was followed by Werft v. Desert Southwest Annual Conf. of United Methodist Church, 377 F.3d 1099, 1100 n.1 (9th Cir. 2004). The ministerial exception established in McLure was just recently extended to FLSA scenarios by the Seventh Circuit in Schleicher v. Salvation Army, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2836 (7th Cir. 2007), but Schleicher concerned the wages of a minister, and thus not an employee under the FLSA.

Alamo has been distinguished many times, but never again in the context of a religious group seeking to evade labor laws, so the penultimate battle at trial will chiefly be over whether to follow or distinguish Alamo, as I describe above.

Before trial, of course, there will be a slew of motions and creative lawyering by Scientology to delay this trial until the end of time. There is undoubtedly the most serious legal challenge they've faced in years and they almost certainly realize it and will act accordingly. One especiallly intriguing pretrial question is whether Scientology will challenge Headley on the basis of the numerous releases and waivers Headley signed. Headley speaks of the releases in his complaint, alleging that they are invalid for lack of consideration and unconscionable, an assertion which is likely correct. Although Headley doesn't include the releases in his complaint, and I thus have no actual knowledge of them, I have reviewed many other Scientology releases and have noted prior occasions their telltale signs--they all inevitably lack consideration and usually contain unconscionable terms. Headley adds that his were signed under duress, an assertion which I have little trouble believing. Will Scientology actually produce Headley's signed releases as evidence of his relinquishing the right to sue? A loss on this front would be a minor devastation as Scientology has relied on these unconscionable releases for years (and although they've never really been tested, the releases likely "work" in that many ex-members are probably intimidated into not bringing a suit against Scientology because they assume the release is valid; invalid or not, the releases possess a deterrent quality).

I will be keeping a close eye on this lawsuit as it progresses and write about it as time allows.
 
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