Forcing your employees to do dumb Scientology exercises creates a "hostile work environment"

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Dr. Dennis Nobbe's Dynamic Medical Services, Inc, where employees were made to engage in bizarre Scientology rituals as a condition of employment. The EEOC says that this violated employees' freedom of religion, and they're suing Dr Nobbe to prove it. This is the downside of the Church of Scientology's dodge of getting itself certified as a "religion," a practice that otherwise grants it enormous privileges, including preferential tax-treatment. But once your woo-woo exercises are officially "religious rituals," then forcing someone to engage in them violates freedom of religion rules:

According to the EEOC's suit, the company required Norma Rodriguez, Maykel Ruz, Rommy Sanchez, Yanileydis Capote and other employees to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving. The company also instructed employees to attend courses at the Church of Scientology. Additionally, the company required Sanchez to undergo an "audit" by connecting herself to an "E-meter," which Scientologists believe is a religious artifact, and required her to undergo "purification" treatment at the Church of Scientology. According to the EEOC's suit, employees repeatedly asked not to attend the courses but were told it was a requirement of the job. In the cases of Rodriguez and Sanchez, when they refused to participate in Scientology religious practices and/or did not conform to Scientology religious beliefs, they were terminated.

Requiring employees to conform to religious practices and beliefs espoused by the employer, creating a hostile work environment, and failing to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of an employee all violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

EEOC Sues Dynamic Medical Services for Religious Discrimination (via Lowering the Bar)


  1. Isn’t “dumb Scientology exercises” from the Department of Redundancy Department?

        1. All religion? Does that mean we can go back to burning witches (Wiccans)? Why do you have contempt for irrational faiths qua irrational faith? As opposed to specific religious sects, churches and organizations that do the fucked up shit? Is your existence really so boring that you get a kick out of hating on the slow kids for believing in fairytales?

          1. …weren’t the Wiccan religious folks burned at the stake by… other religious folks? Just saying 

          2. Exactly my point. Not all religious practices are evil. The evil comes not from the belief in myths, but in the corrupting influence of secular power, hence the wisdom in separating church as state for the protection of both.

            I’m as agnostic/atheist as they come (agnostic about whether something we might recognize as intelligence played a role in the creation of the universe and atheist with regards to the human conceptions of Higher Power), but I’m a bit skeptical of people who hold contempt for any and all belief in myths.

            I’ve known religious folks (Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, Pagan, Buddhist, ect…) who were excellent people and who used their faith as a motive for doing actual good. And I’ve known religious folks who used their religion as a motive for doing evil. Yet militant atheism makes no distinction between the two.

            Reason is one of my two favorite things in the human universe (the other being love), but I’m under no illusions that reason automatically leads to good, or that the imperfect adherence to reason necessarily leads to to evil. Zealotry, religious or atheist, is itself irrational, and cause for concern. A knee-jerk blanket contempt for all religion may feel good, but it is not, in my opinion, rational.

            Other people also hold secular beliefs that I think are wrong, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily have contempt for those beliefs. Contempt for all disagreement with me would be the height of blind self-righteousness. What is different when those beliefs are in myths that they merit contempt?

          3. and contempt for their religious practices is not the same as contempt for the person who practices them. 

          4. @ Dingo Dongo

            Contempt != fire.

            I was being mildly sarcastic myself.

            @ The Engineer

            and contempt for their religious practices is not the same as contempt for the person who practices them.

            Fair enough.

          5. To accept religion is to forget and ignore the damage it has done and continues to do. Come talk to me when marriage equality is standard, otherwise I will continue to ridicule all religious people. The ‘good ones’ need to get the douchey ones to stop making them all look bad. Religious institution is the sole reason universal marriage equality is still so far off.

          1. I always get that mixed up. Are you supposed to make a clicking sound when you say it?

        1. In what way is Scientology NOT a religion?   If anything, they’re MORE religion like than most other religions.

          1. spacedmonkey,

            The voice of sanity!

            There are many religions that have been corrupted and used as a control system. This gives them a bad name. 

            What you say is spot on. “They’re more religion than most other religions.” Just to add to this, they are more religions than many other religions HAVE BECOME.

          2. Scientology did not start out as a religion. L. Ron Hubbard’s
            “Dianetics” was a self-help pseudoscience scam based loosely on
            regression therapy that appealed to a 1950s audience who largely viewed
            regular psychiatric care as elitist and overpriced. When Hubbard
            attracted the unwanted attention of the AMA and FDA for practicing
            unlicensed quackery and the IRS for tax evasion, he suddenly
            “discovered” that Dianetics was simply a small part of Scientology,
            which -surprise!- was actually a religion and therefore immune to such
            inconveniences as taxation and providing any proof for its wild claims.

            There are many other elements of Scientology that make it much more like a for-profit corporation than a religion.  A small bit of research will confirm this.

          3. There are also a lot of elements that make  it more like a religion than a typical corporation.  The brainwashing and the kooky beliefs, just to name a couple. I’ve read several books about it, so you might consider doing a little more research.  There’s a new book called “Going Clear” that would be a good place to start.  Also, it is hardly unique among religions in being a for-profit scam for the benefit of the people running it.  That’s a long and time honored tradition (think of a certain sect that is almost our archetype of religion, whose pontiff wears a funny hat.   Then look up the etymological origins of the word “parasite.”)

          4. Not many religions have a crazy electric gizmo that you hold onto for spiritual measurement & guidance.

            Just sayin’

          5. The crazy electric gizmos are GSR meters, which I think actually could be used for good, but in practice, let them brainwash their minions even better. 

        1. Fuck THAT. I target scientology more than other religions because I feel it does measurably more damage to its adherents than other religions but that double standard is bullshit man. How is scientology’s craziness any more crazy than religion? All of these belief systems require that you turn off the critical thinking part of your brain and just believe their lies.

          1. Fair point, though I’d contend that most religions have the unspoken expectation that you contribute at least 10% of your income.

        1. In fact, I wouldn’t say that any religion is entitled to respect.  In a pluralistic society, they are entitled to tolerance, insofar as they don’t feel that their religion justifies violence, but that’s not the same thing as respect. 

      1. scientology is as crack-pot as all religion, but it is arguably much more damaging to the individual than most other religions. In short scientology and religion is shit and I harbor a degree of judgement for anyone simple enough to believe in it.

        Don’t tell me only god can judge you because I just did.

    1. Staff of a dental clinic familiarising themselves with their equipment and practicing communication skills so that they can service patients more efficiently is dumb?

      So, you’d rather have dental staff who didn’t know where anything was, how to use their equipment and were rude to the patients?

      1. You are right, describing it as “lacking the power of speech” is very wrong… it should be described as “Absolutely crazy stuff that is demonstrably full of shit”.

        Did you RTFA guy?

        According  to the EEOC’s suit, the company required … employees to spend at least half their work days in  courses that involved Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at  ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving.  The company also instructed employees to  attend courses at the Church of Scientology.   Additionally, the company required Sanchez to undergo an “audit” by  connecting herself to an “E-meter,” which Scientologists believe is a  religious artifact, and required her to undergo “purification” treatment at the  Church of Scientology.

        I’d rather do my own dental work than go to people who’ve been indoctrinated as such.

        1. You may wish to review Mr. Davis’ recent activity within his  Disqus profile.  

      2. Mr. John Davis:

        If you gotta have a cult, FFS please make sure the cult leader isn’t a height challenged, rat brained moron with an IQ the square root of its shoe size.

        The cult of scientology is doomed. Expect it!

  2. I really hope they have a “You don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps” poster up.

  3. I wonder if the scientologists will whip up something that is to scientology what “intelligent design” is to what creationists actually want taught if it weren’t for those pesky judges?

    Then they could continue to claim religious status, while also having an Oh-gosh-no-it’s-totally-secular-and-scientific flimflam scheme to use whenever being a not-religion becomes convenient…

    1. I’m sure they will. Last weekend, my husband got handed a booklet about the “only ethical system not based on religion … just common sense and logic”. In tiny print on the back was a reference to L. Ron Hubbard. Needless to say, the ethical system was not entirely logical. 

      1. That would be The Way to Happiness. It’s claimed to be non-religious, but a royalty for every booklet goes to the Church of Spiritual Technology, one of Scientology’s corporate pods.

        1. Don’t they also still do this with Dianetics, Hubbard’s scam that he eventually turned into Scientology?

          1. Probably, but you see, we have copies of the TWTH agreements from their own site spelling out the royalty/license payments in PDF files. (Password “fish”. Too lazy for swordfish, I guess.)

            Each one of those booklets costs 14 cents to print in bulk, and another 7 cents are royalty. They charge their own members at least $1.50 per copy in “donations”.

    2. Uh, they have that already, it’s called “Applied Scholastics” and is sold under a different brand. The kicker is that they’ve  laced it with a few things that actually work and hidden all the bizarro extra-terrestial stuff at the bottom.

      1.  hiding all the really out-there stuff on the bottom/behind a paywall is kind of Scientology’s thing.

      2. It works. There is no bizarro ET or anything else.

        Sorry to disappoint everybody, but it’s just basically common sense.

        1. It’s common sense to praise the great humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard?

          WTF? Are you retarded?

          You must be for coming to the defense of this criminal scam!

        2. You’re not doing a very good job there bud.. the church elders (or whatever the fuck you loons call them) won’t be happy with your performance.

    1. This is literal “Religious Technology” being forced on employees under fear of termination versus pareto veneration.

      1. Unless our true alien origin is what they teach those who are secret initiatives of the seventh sigma.  

  4. I remember I worked for about a day and a half in a small rental office where everybody there was on The Program. I never asked what “The Program” was, and was grateful to get out of there after one point five shifts. They gave me the heebie jeebies.

    To this day, I don’t even know what they meant, but I knew I wanted No Part Of It.

      1.  Doubtful. Working in an office and not using at the very least alcohol, never mind something stronger to dull the pain? There’s no way I could envisage office work without mind-altering substances. /shudder/

    1.  Joke’s on you. In about ten years, after our army takes over, and all mustaches are replaced with pipe-cleaners, you’ll be begging to have us take you back.

      Czhechquers the Mouse King will reward his loyal followers, and you shall not be among them.

    2. Could have been Scientology, could have been one of the various EST followups, could have been some entirely independent woo-woo cult.

  5. I think this is a symptom of an even bigger problem, where fair to middling businessmen in the U.S. think they’re even better psychologists.

    Trust-building exercises, HR gatekeepers, “shaping” employees (instead of seeking spots where they fit), etc.

  6. I am fully expecting the GOP to side with the Scientologists on this one – yet another case of activist judges denying a corporation its right to practice religion upon its employees as it sees fit.

    1. Maybe… but that would require them to recognize Scientology as a religion. This is a party that’s on the fence about whether Islam is a religion.

          1. All of them*, they’ve been trying so hard to get the convention here in Utah.

            *ok there’s a handful of dems but they’re just kind of seen as weirdos.

          2. [reply to Dlo Burns:] All of the roughly 12 million Mormons who aren’t Democrats are trying to get the RNC in Utah? That seems implausible. Seems more likely you’re talking about the Republican leadership in Utah.

      1. “that would require them to recognize Scientology as a religion. This is a party that’s on the fence about whether Islam is a religion.”

        The GOP is fairly pro-Scientology .Their lobbyists pay more than Islamic lobbying groups. Plus their ground crew is much more rabid and devoted.

    2. Republican Oklahoma Gov Mary Fallin quickly signed into law a bill targeting Narconon. Using every single article as an opportunity to slam Repubs in the comments is kind of childish, especially when they do the right thing on a issue.

      1. A Republican paid attention to Narconon? Time to ignore every Ron Paul-like Repub who plants wet sloppy kisses on Scientology.

        1. “When they do the right thing on a issue” it is appropriate to note it positively. 
          But you are obviously not capable of not making everything an opportunity for another tiresome attack comment. 

  7. “In the cases of Rodriguez and Sanchez, when they refused to participate in Scientology religious practices … they were terminated.”

    Really? In a cyborg-from-the-future kinda way?

  8. What’s the problem?  I tell job applicants to pull their trouser legs up above the knees, then I throw rice on the floor and make them do a full rosary while kneeling.
    Finally, I tell them all positions were filled months ago and burst out laughing, harder still if the applicant was non-Catholic (I’m not Catholic, either).

  9. Isn’t it amazing how stupid something can seem when described by someone who hasn’t a clue what it’s about!

    1.  Scientology is different in this respect, as it can still sound totally fucking stupid even when described by someone intimately involved in it. In fact, I’d posit more so.

    2. A summary of our “friend” John Davis’  contributions to other blogs:

      Article: Catherine Zeta-Jones Returns to Treatment for Bipolar II Disorder
      Comment: Poor kid! Once the psychs have got her, she’s on the way out!

      Article: Russell Brand, Tom Cruise & Scientology
      Comment: Don’t watch videos about it, or read ANYONE’s opinion about it. Read an actual book by the person who founded it and MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND. (Then some quote from some irrelevant asshole to help us “make up our own mind”)
      Here’s the video he doesn’t like:

      Article: Scientology opponents plan protest at Cruise premiere
      Comment: What is the knee jerk crap about? Tom Cruise is going to promote a new movie. Like anti-smokers, anti-scientologists are a million times more obnoxious than the guys who are just doing it.

      Article: ‘I feel brainwashed – a robot of Scientology’ Jenna Miscavige Hill endured a youth of child labour, family
      separation and bullying – and all at the hands of the religious sect led by her own uncle.
      Comment: Jenna, you are a robot. With or without Scientology.

      You’re a real piece of work, shithead. Welcome to BB, where a skin sample from any regular poster’s sphincter has a higher IQ than that of you and your entire religion. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, unless you feel like digging your hole a
      bit deeper.

      1. As moderator, I must affirm
        I’ve thoroughly examined him.
        Not only is he merely banned;
        He’s really most sincerely banned.

        1. Most people curse Disqus, but I love it. Activity history is the best. Using people’s own words to paint their picture is fun!

        2.  Good. So no skin sample needed then? I mean, I dislike Scientology as much as the next mutant, but, y’know, that sounded painful and intrusive.

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