Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Staff Contract - Scientology's Legal Out

I and many other ex staff members have been asked time and again, "well if you were abused, and weren't paid like you were supposed to be, why didn't you sue the church?".  The simple answer is that it is almost impossible to sue the church as an ex staff member and win.  In the recent case of  Marc and Claire Headley, their cases were dismissed because a judge believed Scientology and said that a ministerial exception applied. This exception also applied to all the abuse and forced abortion which was also in the labor claim lawsuit.

The reason for this is the Scientology Staff Contract.  Every staff member in Scientology is required to sign the contract.  This includes Sea Org members as their Billion Year Contract doesn't spell out any of the legalities that Scientology depends upon to control their followers.

The first question that most people ask and have a hard time with is about staff pay.  How can the "church" get away with making staff members work 60 to 80 and more hours a week and then only pay them a few to maybe 50 bucks at the end of the week?  The answer is in the contract:


"I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT ALL CHURCH STAFF MEMBERS INCLUDING MYSELF, ARE MEMBERS OF A RELIGIOUS ORDER; THAT THEY SERVE PURSUANT TO THEIR RELIGIOUS OBLIGATIONS AND NOT IN CONTEMPLATION OF RECEIVING ANY COMPENSATION WHATSOEVER, AND IN DOING SO THAT THEY ARE FORSAKING ALL COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL MOTIVATION.  - EACH CONSIDERS HIMSELF/HERSELF A VOLUNTEER TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD. AND UNDERSTANDS THAT HE/SHE IS NOT AN EMPLOYEE, I.E.. IS NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE. SECULAR BENEFITS SUCH AS A MINIMUM WAGE OR OVERTIME COMPENSATION."

In effect, when you sign the contract, you are taking a vow of poverty.  The "church" doesn't have to pay you a penny if they don't want to.  There is no guaranteed salary in Scientology.  As a matter of fact, Hubbard was firmly against paying people what they were worth but he clothes it in some sort of socialist, Utopian phraseology:

Working for a wage is one of the deadlier control mechanisms since it brings about an irresponsibility in the person for his job. Fixed wage is a means of suppressing a person into a slavery class, pegging him at no hope. This mechanism is one of the best modern society has for keeping people down. It is artificial and arbitrary and denies a person the fruits of his labor.

And:


In this way the Board would not be worried about salary increases. And the salaries would increase to the degree that the Association earned. Further, this is not a firm or corporation run for the profit of a small group at the top. What it earns should be shared since it is the product of the effort of all of us. HCO Policy Letter dated 5 April 1957 - PROPORTIONATE PAY PLAN PROPOSAL OEC Vol. 3, 1976 edition.

What he doesn't tell you is that there is no extra pay for if you do a spectacular job.  Your pay not only depends on your good work, but by the good work of everyone else in the org, and even if you all went above and beyond, even if there were thousands of dollars in the Orgs Reserve account, if the Org didn't make money that week, you would not be paid.


Alright, so what about the abuses and inhumane punishments?  Would that not give one the right to sue the "church" if you thought they were being to rough on you?  These would include: receiving no pay, being pulled off your job to do scud work, not being able to communicate with others, wearing a dirty rag on your sleeve to denote that you are lower than anyone, being screamed at or even being punched.  Yup, the "church" has that covered:

"A. I HEREBY AGREE THAT I, MY HEIRS, DISTRIBUTEES. GUARDIANS, LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES AND ASSIGNS WILL NOT MAKE CLAIM AGAINST. SUE, ATTACH THE PROPERTY OF, OR PROSECUTE the Church. any successor of L. Ron Hubbard, Religious Technology Center and Its principals. Church of Scientology International, and/or any of Its affiliated Churches, Missions, corporations, associations, partnerships, or organizations. and/or their agents, servants, successors, heirs, executors and assigns, (hereinafter collectively referred to as the Releasees") for injury or damage resulting from the negligence or other acts. howsoever caused, by any Releasee or by any employee. agent or contractor of the Church. Its affiliates, or other Releasee. arising out of or any way connected with my membership In the Scientology Religious Order, active participation on Church staff or association with the Releasees. 
B. I HEREBY RELEASE AND DISCHARGE THE RELEASEES from all actions, claims or demands I, my heirs, dlstrubutees, guardians, legal representatives or assigns ever had, now have or may hereafter have for Injury or damage resulting from or any way connected with my membership In the Scientology Religious Order, active participation on Church staff or association with the Releasees. 
C. I FURTHER AGREE TO INDEMNIFY AND SAVE AND HOLD HARMLESS THE RELEASEES and each of them from any loss, Inability damage or cost, Including but not limited to attorneys' fees they may Incur, whether caused by the negligence of the Releasees or otherwise as a result of (a) my breach of any covenants contain herein: (b) my breach of the fiduciary duties owed to the Church and/or the Releasees; (c) my activity within the Church or my conduct In the community at large with regard to the Church and/or the Releasees whether or not such activity or conduct is pursuant to this Application, Declaration and general Release: (d) any statements made by me herein, which are now false or which hereafter become false; and or (e) my membership In the Scientology Religious Order, my active participation on Church staff or my association with Releasees.
I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THE ABOVE TERMS OF THIS GENERAL RELEASE AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THEM. I AM AWARE THAT THIS IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY. COVENANT NOT TO SUE AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT BETWEEN MYSELF AND THE CHURCH AND/OR ITS AFFILIATED ORGANIZATIONS AND/OR OTHER INDIVIDUALS, AND I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT BY PLACING MY SIGNATURE AT THE END OF THIS 
DOCUMENT I SHALL BE BOUND BY ITS TERMS."

In case you feel you have been abused or injured by Scientologists, you have given up the right to sue.  In case something real bad happens to you where you are incapable of making decisions or killed by the actions of management or accident, you have given up the right to suit by your heirs or family.  And it has worked for Scientology in more than one court case.

So the personnel officer, one of the Exec Secs, or even the Executive Director has told you that if you sign the contract, you will be immediately posted as such-and such.  Or you will make more money than if you had an outside job.  Or that you will receive an education that is more valuable than a doctorate.  Whatever they have promised you, forget about it.  Don't they have to keep their promises?  Nope:


"I attest that I have been given and read Scientology Policy Directive 13 March 1996, Statements by Staff Members"  In which it sates, among other things:
"A reason for this Scientology Policy Directive stems from a review of past and current litigation which indicates that many of the claims flow from alleged misrepresentations made to them concerning the values of the Scientology religion. It goes without saying, of course, that such litigants are usually professionals who hope to make money dishonestly by shaking down organizations, successful individuals or wealthy persons. Oddly, such a person could not possibly benefit from Scientology since he means it harm: thus it becomes a foregone conclusion that the person will not benefit. Their percentage is very small yet society as it is at this time seems to be slanted in the direction of favoring such peoples' claims even when they lie. Thus, care must be taken on this point."

So you get my point here?  This contract is a great deal for Scientology and a real bad deal for you.  If you want to do something meaningful for the world for no pay, you could join the Peace Corps, the Red Cross or Ameri-Corps.  At least they do something.  Just don't sign the Scientology Staff Contract!


Thanks for reading this post.  I welcome any comments or questions.  Please stay tuned for the next episode.

6 comments:

  1. Yet another excellent post Robert! There is a collection of Sea Org and Staff contracts that have been archived here for further reference:

    http://www.exposescientology.com/scientologycontracts.html

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  2. Thank you. And thanks again for the links

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