No, You Can’t Force Your Employees to Be Scientologists

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So says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in this press release, describing a lawsuit it filed today (May 9) against a Miami company. According to the EEOC, the company required employees to take Scientology courses and engage in a variety of scientological Scientologish scientary stupid practices:

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 [one] 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 [two employees], when they refused to participate in Scientology religious practices and/or did not conform to Scientology religious beliefs, they were terminated.

Finally, a job where the ability to scream at objects and stare at people for hours without moving are considered valuable qualifications, and the government wants to shut it down. Lunatics need work too, government.

Other practices ascribed to the organization that I still think could turn out to be the most elaborate practical joke ever:

  • Requiring adherents to sign a contract committing them to Scientology for "the next billion years";
  • Requiring them to engage in a game of musical chairs at a secret desert base (seriously) by saying that those who don't participate will have their marriages terminated;
  • Tom Cruise.