A business in South Florida has been accused of forcing employees to participate in scientology. The chiropractic office allegedly forced employees to sit and stare into each other’s eyes for eight-hour periods of time. It is also alleged to have forced employees to read books written by the late L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Ultimately, it was not until the workers brought forward a workplace discrimination lawsuit in court that they got relief.
The workers filed a complaint through the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and it is one of the more unique complaints to go through the EEOC’s South Florida offices. The lawsuit resulted in the company paying $170,000 and agreeing to stop putting its religious belief systems onto employees. In agreeing to settle the lawsuit, the company continued to deny all the charges and claimed that it was only settling to avoid the expense of litigation.
In addition to allegedly having the Scientology religion forced upon them, employees claimed that they would suffer retaliatory consequences if they did not agree to study it and carry out various religious practices. According to the EEOC, the chiropractic practice did have the right to make its religious beliefs known and to talk about them. However, it did not have the right to force its employees to practice them.
While this case may be deemed as unique, due to the uniqueness of the religious practices employees were allegedly forced to perform, claims of religious workplace discrimination are not uncommon in the state of Florida. These claims may involve a worker being discriminated against because he or she is of the Christian, Islam or Judaic faiths. The discrimination could just as easily stem from them not being a part of a particular religion, as in this situation. Fortunately, state and federal laws do protect individuals from this kind of abuse, and everyone has the right to put a stop to it.
Source: tampabay.com, South Florida business agrees to stop forcing Scientology on workers, No author, Dec. 20, 2013