Author Topic: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members  (Read 5663 times)

Offline Pollywog

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A fantastic story today from The Sunday Herald Sun in Australia.  This bears following:  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/church-of-scientology-faces-backpay-bill-to-former-members/story-fn7x8me2-1226123609542

Offline ethercat

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2011, 21:02 »
Quote
IN a move that could send its Australian arm bankrupt, the controversial Church of Scientology may be forced to pay millions in backpay to former members.

That is fantastic news, Pollywog!  Thanks for posting about it, and welcome to Tipping Point.

Hopefully, if this happens, they will also be forced to pay current staff and Sea Org members better. 

(However, I wonder if the pay was better, would it keep members from leaving?)
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Offline Mary_McConnell

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 17:13 »
Yes, thanks, Pollywog!

This is very important news and I can't wait to see the upcoming full report to hit all the media outlets. Thank you to all who have helped get this matter addressed by the government.
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.

Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2011, 15:53 »
Ombudsman draft raises possible Scientology 'slavery' breach - NEWS.com.au
13 September 2011, 12:43 pm

A DRAFT report by the industrial umpire into the Church of Scientology says the group could have potentially breached laws dealing with slavery by underpaying its staff.

A final report by the Fair Work Ombudsman is due for release later this week, but the preliminary report has found some workers were paid as little as $10 a week by the church despite it earning more than $17 million in 2009.

It contains allegations of false imprisonment and forced labour.

"The allegations ... may potentially be a breach of the provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995 dealing with slavery ... the Fair Work Ombudsman will refer the witnesses' allegations to the relevant authority for further investigation," ABC Television quoted the draft report as saying.

The church had argued that some members were not covered by the Fair Work Act because they were in holy orders.

"This is not a persuasive view and is not consistent with the law," the report said.

The Church of Scientology issued a media statement in response to the program arguing that: "All parties to the FWO investigation, including witnesses, complainants and the Church, were asked not to disseminate the draft findings or discuss them publicly."

"The Church completely rejects these claims made by a handful of embittered former members."

The release also pointed out that the Fair Work Ombudsman had issued a media statement noting that "the final Statement of Findings is likely to differ substantially from the initial draft”.

The report also found the church had incorrectly classified as volunteers or voluntary workers people who were entitled to be classified as employees, which could mean it is forced to backpay people if the final statement of findings reflects the draft report.

more at http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/ombudsman-draft-raises-scientology-slavery/story-e6frfku0-1226136255389

Additional coverage:

Church of Scientology facing back pay claims - ABC News - Australia

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-14/church-of-scientology-facing-back-pay-claims/2897982

Scientologists face low-pay accusations from Fair Work Ombudsman - The Australian

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/scientologists-face-low-pay-accusations-from-fair-work-ombudsman/story-e6frg6nf-1226136281876

Australian officials: Scientologists violated slavery laws - beliefnet

http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2011/09/australian-officials-scientologists-violated-slavery-laws.php

'Volunteer' claim dismissed in Scientology low pay probe | Perth Now
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 21:55 by mefree »
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Offline mefree

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Offline wynot

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 12:23 »
Scientology hits back over unfair pay claims

"They're volunteers because we say so! What difference does it make that they have no other jobs, are fed, and housed by the 'Church', and paid a whole $10 a week for their 96 hours of work?"

Yeah, right...

'til next time;
wynot
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Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 16:46 »
Fair Work prepare Scientology report - ABC Online
14 September 2011, 6:03 am



Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 13/09/2011

Reporter: Steve Cannane

A draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman contains allegations against the Church of Scientology of false imprisonment, forced labour and wages of as little as $10 per week.

Video with transcript at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3317929.htm
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Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 23:01 »
Church of Scientology denies enslavement allegations - ABC Online
14 September 2011, 9:40 am

Reporter:

The Church of Scientology has denied allegations in the draft of a Fair Work Australia report that its workers have been subjected to false imprisonment and enslavement.

Video and transcript available at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3318005.htm


Church of Scientology dismisses unfair pay claims - ABC Online
14 September 2011, 8:05 am

MARK COLVIN: The Church of Scientology says it's hurt and upset by the leaking of a draft report critical of its practices. The draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman finds that the Church wrongly classifies as volunteers, people who are effectively ...

mp3 and transcript available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3317822.htm
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 23:07 by mefree »
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Offline Mary_McConnell

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 09:23 »
Butt hurt church whines, lol

Church of Scientology denies enslavement allegations - ABC Online
14 September 2011, 9:40 am

Reporter:

The Church of Scientology has denied allegations in the draft of a Fair Work Australia report that its workers have been subjected to false imprisonment and enslavement.

Video and transcript available at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3318005.htm


Church of Scientology dismisses unfair pay claims - ABC Online
14 September 2011, 8:05 am

MARK COLVIN: The Church of Scientology says it's hurt and upset by the leaking of a draft report critical of its practices. The draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman finds that the Church wrongly classifies as volunteers, people who are effectively ...

mp3 and transcript available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2011/s3317822.htm
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.

Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 17:41 »
Church of Scientology faces class action - ABC Online
15 September 2011, 10:09 am

The Church of Scientology is facing a class action over claims it underpaid former workers.

On Tuesday night, ABC1's Lateline revealed that a draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman had found the church had wrongly classified employees as volunteers.

Law firm Slater and Gordon has also been looking into the claims and says under the Fair Work Act, those employees and ex-employees are owed large sums of money in wages, holiday pay, overtime and superannuation.

Slater and Gordon commercial litigation lawyer Steven Lewis says the firm has been investigating evidence from some of the church's former workers.

"We have undertaken an investigation into that and we've come to the conclusion that indeed they were employees and they're entitled to be paid wages, back wages and other entitlements including superannuation under the Fair Work Act," he said.

Only those who worked for the Church of Scientology in the last six years are eligible to participate in any class action due to the statute of limitations.

Mr Lewis says evidence that some workers were getting as little as $10 a week means back-pay claims could be substantial.

"Potentially it could be for very large sums of money," he said.

"In addition, the court has the authority under the Fair Work Act to impose a civil penalty in respect of each breach of the Act."

Jordan Anderson, who featured in the Four Corners program that led to the Fair Work ombudsman's inquiry, will be part of the class action.

Her mother Liz was one of the first people to talk to Slater and Gordon.

"This whole issue in relation to workplace relations has all come about because of Jordan's treatment in the Sea Organisation where she worked for years - 9:00 in the morning till 10:00 at night - with little or no time off on a gruelling schedule," she said.

"I was just driven because I knew that something was wrong. There is no way a person, a minor, should be treated like that."

more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-16/church-of-scientology-facing-class-action/2901468

Class action planned against Scientology - ABC Lateline-Australia
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3318961.htm
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 21:13 by mefree »
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Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 12:14 »
Scientologists asked to review workers' pay - ABC Online
16 September 2011, 4:30 am

The Church of Scientology says it will take on board the recommendations of the Fair Work Ombudsman after it found the church needs to ensure it is complying with the Fair Work Act.

The ombudsman has also requested the church make sure it is paying its workers properly.

Some former church members have begun a class action over claims the church had paid them as little as $10 a week for long hours of full-time work.

At issue is whether they were volunteers or workers who are owed wages, holiday pay, overtime and superannuation.

The church insists they were volunteers.

The ombudsman has asked the church to do its own audit to ensure compliance with the Fair Work Act and to rectify any underpayments.

Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said he was not persuaded that because the church is a religious entity the Fair Work Act did not apply.

Mr Wilson said documents examined by inspectors clearly contradicted that claim.

more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-16/scientologists-asked-to-review-workers-pay/2903124?section=business
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Offline News Thetan

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ABC Lateline: Class Action Suit for back-pay - YouTube
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 13:03 »
ABC Lateline: Class Action Suit for back-pay - YouTube
15 September 2011, 5:50 pm



ABC Lateline: Class Action Suit for back-pay

YouTube

September 15, 2011 Slater & Gordon investigates class action over Scientology wages claims National law firm Slater & Gordon is investigating a possible class action against the Church of Scientology over claims the organisation has for many years ...


Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY42YweEe6M
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 21:56 by mefree »
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Offline News Thetan

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Scientology 'has to conform' - Sydney Morning Herald
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2011, 13:03 »
Scientology 'has to conform' - Sydney Morning Herald
16 September 2011, 10:35 am

THE Church of Scientology has been found to be subject to Australian labour laws after an investigation into allegations it paid employees who were members of its clergy as little as $10 a week.

But elements of the draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman - such as indications that allegations of slavery and human rights abuses would be referred to ''the relevant authority'' for further investigation - have been omitted from the final public version. Instead the public version says: ''Some claimed the use of unconscionable tactics by the CoS designed to retain their commitment.

''The Fair Work Ombudsman makes no findings in respect of those allegations, but advises that if workers providing services to religious or any other organisation consider that they are being subjected to intimidation or other illegal pressure to continue to provide their labour, they should contact police.''
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The report also gives the first real insight into the finances of the Australian arm of the controversial church, founded by the American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1952.

more at http://www.smh.com.au/national/church-of-scientology-has-to-conform-to-labour-laws-20110916-1kdwj.html
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 21:53 by mefree »
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Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2011, 22:49 »
Scientology told to honour workplace laws - Sydney Morning Herald
Belinda Cranston
September 16, 2011

AAP

The industrial umpire has told the Church of Scientology to hire an external expert to review its work practices after an 18-month probe into whether church workers were paid properly.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigation was sparked by an ABC Television Four Corners program in March 2010, which raised allegations about the mistreatment and exploitation of some of the church's most loyal members.

A number of allegations made by witnesses came outside the statutory time limit for consideration, so they could not be pursued, the ombudsman's final report released on Friday said.
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Other allegations fell outside the ombudsman's jurisdiction and needed to be referred to other authorities, the report said.

The ombudsman called on the church to conduct a comprehensive audit to ensure all parts of the organisation complied with the Fair Work Act and to redress any cases where workers had been underpaid.

"It would be prudent for the Church of Scientology to proactively undertake this self-audit process at the earliest opportunity," the report said.

Read more at http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/scientology-told-to-honour-workplace-laws-20110916-1kduo.html
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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2011, 23:45 »
I'd guess Scientology's greatest likely action will be to either hire someone they know, or pay someone off, of council (threaten) their staff into saying that everything is A-OK, under duress of not reincarnating if they don't do so, by means of excommunication from Scientology, or at least being barred from further auditing (but still loads of regging .... cult needs its money!)

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Of Chaplains and Charges - Sydney Morning Herald (blog)
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 05:02 »
Of Chaplains and Charges - Sydney Morning Herald (blog)
18 September 2011, 4:53 pm

The Charges Part 1

In the Senate in 2009 Senator Nick Xenophon raised allegations of dodgy employment practices against Scientology.The interest of the Senator in the Church of Scientology arose initially because of the tax deduction status and moved on to more serious charges.

The allegations centred on young people who were employed and complained of underpayment, abusive conditions and virtual imprisonment.

These allegations were not new to Scientology and are now to be tested in the courts for a class action has commenced.

This case will not be simple as volunteerism and low pay are an accepted part of the church and community sectors.  Indeed the atheist foundations and associations are all run on the sniff of an oily rag and the labour of volunteers.  How will any court easily sort out what is informed volunteering and what is underpayment through exploitation?  When I work in the community sector I am amazed if anyone offers me money.  Kids however are different and could have been ripped off.  Time will tell and the court results could have profound results for both freedom of religion, freedom from exploitation by the religious and the role of volunteerism in the faith (and other) sectors.  This is not an unimportant case.  NostraDick has spoken.

more at http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/godless-gross/of-chaplains-and-charges-20110916-1kdam.html
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 18:31 by mefree »
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Offline mefree

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Re: Church of Scientology Faces Backpay Bill to Former Members
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2011, 19:20 »
Xenophon disappointed by Scientology report - ABC Online
16 September 2011, 10:06 am

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 16/09/2011

Reporter: Steve Cannane

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says he is disappointed with the Fair Work Ombudsman's final report into the Church of Scientology, believing it has been watered down.

Transcript
ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has told Lateline he's disappointed with a Fair Work Ombudsman's final report into the Church of Scientology.

He believes the draft report has been watered down.

The Church of Scientology has described the report as a "terrific outcome", but the Church hasn't escaped criticism.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has called on the Church of Scientology to hire an independent consultant to review workplace practices to ensure they comply with the award system and the Fair Work Act.

Steve Cannane reports.

STEVE CANNANE, REPORTER: The Fair Work Ombudsman's inquiry into the Church of Scientology was set up in response to allegations raised in last year's Four Corners program.

JORDAN ANDERSON, FORMER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: I stayed up 72 hours once just trying to get someone approved to go ... auditor training overseas.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT, FOUR CORNERS REPORTER: 72 hours without sleep?

JORDAN ANDERSON: Mmm.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: And you were 15 at the time?

JORDAN ANDERSON: Mmm.

STEVE CANNANE: Jordan Anderson gave evidence to the Fair Work Ombudsman's inquiry, but her family is upset with today's findings:

FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN'S STATEMENT OF FINDINGS (voiceover): Witness 7's (Jordan Anderson) relationship with the Church of Scientology was voluntary in nature, not one of employment. Accordingly, the investigation determined Witness 7's complaint cannot be sustained.

NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT SENATOR: In this particular case, it seems curious that the Fair Work Ombudsman has taken this approach, given that the person was a minor, was told what hours to work and the circumstances in which they could work.

So I would have thought it had all the hallmarks of being an employee, not a volunteer. Volunteers can walk away.

This person didn't have that choice. That's why I think cases such as this could well end up in the courts.

STEVE CANNANE: The Church of Scientology argues all their religious work is done by volunteers. In the draft report, the fair work Ombudsman found that......

video and more at http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3319927.htm
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