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Admin Complaint

Admin Complaint

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Published by Larry Brennan
Admin complaint filed before suit re organized scientology's labor law violations
Admin complaint filed before suit re organized scientology's labor law violations

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Published by: Larry Brennan on Jan 12, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/17/2009

 
LAW OFFICES OF BARRY VAN SICKLE
1 0 7 9 S U N R I S E A V E N U E • S U I T E B - 3 1 5 • R O S E V I L L E , C A • 9 5 6 6 1P H O N E : ( 9 1 6 ) 5 4 9 - 8 7 8 4 • F A X : ( 9 1 6 ) 7 7 2 - 2 8 3 3
November 17, 2008
VIA CERTIFIED MAIL
California Labor & Workforce Development AgencyAttention: Doug Hoffner, Undersecretary801 K Street, Suite 2101Sacramento, CA 95814Elliot J. AbelsonGeneral CounselChurch of Scientology International8491 West Sunset Blvd., Suite 1100Los Angeles, CA 90069Golden Era Productions19625 Highway 79Gilman Hot Springs, CA 92583RE: Notice of Claim – LWDA No. 3994Labor Code Private Attorneys Act of 2004,(Labor Code §2698 et seq.)Employees: Marc Headley, ______ _____ & ______ ______ Employer: Church of Scientology InternationalTo Whom It May Concern:
INTRODUCTION
The Notice of Claim dated September 23, 2008 is hereby supplemented and amendedon behalf of Marc Headley and _____ ___. A new claimant is added, ________  ________.1. She worked for Church of Scientology International (CSI) within the pastyear.This addresses and disarms CSI’s Statute of Limitation argument, although claimants donot agree with CSI’s various statute of limitations arguments.In addition to a new potential class plaintiff, this amended notice has been expanded toaddress Federal labor law, primarily U.S. Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit decisionsconcerning arguments made by CSI’s counsel. As is demonstrated by the section onFederal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act applies to religious organizations. There is no“religious
1
While this is an amended notice for claimants as a group, technically this could also beconsidered a new notice for ___________.
 
November 17, 2008Page 2
exemption” to Federal labor laws. Neither is there any “religious exemption” underCalifornia law, which was demonstrated in the initial letter of notice.CSI’s counsel has also claimed that the “minister exception” bars apparently all laborclaims against Scientology. That cannot be. Among other things, unless 100% of CSI’semployees are “ministers”, which is clearly not the case; the minister exception cannoteven theoretically confer blanket immunity from labor laws to Scientology. Further, evenif applicable, the “minister exception” does not bar all claims involving a “minister”. It islimited to ministers and specific types of religious disputes. For example, a gay ministerwould have rights, including the right not to be defamed by his church, which would notbe nullified by the minister exception. See, Gunn v. Mariners Church, Inc. (2008) 167Cal. App. 4th 206,214. (Church members can believe that being gay is a sin, however, a gay minister isstill protected from civil torts committed by his church.)In fact, claimants were not ministers and most, if not all, of CSI’s employees would notqualify for the minister exception. The minister exception does not apply to theseclaimants or these labor law claims. This dispute is about pay and working conditions,not religion per se.Showing considerable chutzpah, CSI has threatened sanctions for making this claim.Among other things, CSI contends that, beyond question, this claim is barred byagreements, waivers, statutes of limitation, minister exception and complete non-applicability of the labor laws to the “church”. These bogus arguments are addressed toa limited but sufficient extent in this letter.A Labor Code Section 2698 class action is designed to allow recovery of civilpenalties and attorney’s fees. Back wages are separate by may be sought concurrently.Claims for legal wages and penalties are not waivable. Labor Code §1194 expresslyprovides that minimum wages may be recovered irrespective of any agreement to thecontrary. Further support for the “non waiver” rule is found in cases cited below and therecent case of Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal. 4th 443.On a related point the California Supreme Court has also held that minimum wages arealternatively recoverable under the unfair practice laws and the four year statute oflimitation applicable to Business and Professions Code §17200 and related laws. Cortezv. Purolator Air Filtration Products Co. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 163. The contemplated classaction may seek restitution of proper wages for at least four years back. An analysis ofstatue of limitation issues such as accrual, tolling, estoppel and fraudulent concealmentis beyond the scope of this notice. Any one year rule for penalties is satisfied by a classplaintiff who worked for less than minimum wage within the last year.
 
November 17, 2008Page 3Somewhat oversimplified, the gist of this claim is that employees of Church ofScientology International have been working 100+ hour weeks for years at well belowminimum wage. The days are long and the work week is 7 days. Days off are rare.There are no proper breaks, rest periods, meal periods or records kept. Non-compliancewith the Labor Code is virtually a daily affair. This often starts when the employees arechildren.This is illegal and not excused by Scientology’s claim to be a religion. Violated LaborCode sections are listed in a chart submitted with the initial notice letter. The non-exhaustive list of violations includes:LAB 98.6 Retaliation for filing a labor complaintLAB 201 Wages due upon dischargeLAB 204 Timely payment requiredLAB 206 Any release or waiver of wages is null and voidLAB 226 Proper pay recordsLAB 226.7 Proper meal breaks must be providedLAB 432.5 Improper statement cannot be requiredLAB 510 California overtime lawsLAB 512 California meal break provisionsLAB 551-552 One day rest in 7 day weekLAB 1102.5 Employee right to report violationLAB 1175 et. seq. Records and rates on minor employeesLAB 1194-1197 Minimum wage must be paidLAB 1290 et. seq. Improper employment of minorsClaimants started working for the Church of Scientology International (CSI) whenminors (Marc Headley started at age 16; ___________ at age 7; _________ at age 14). _____________, the newly named claimant, was employed by CSI from 1984 –2008.The Labor Code violations started at the beginning and continued throughout their termof employment. There are currently minors and adults working for CSI who are toilingunder illegal working conditions. Rules on wages, hours, breaks, records, child labor andworking conditions are simply ignored. The employees work extraordinary hours almost365 days a year for a substandard, and illegal, wage.
RETALIATION HAS OCCURRED
Since the first notice, the Scientology enterprise has retaliated against claimantsMarc Headley and ___________. This is in violation of LAB 1102.5 and carries anadditional penalty of $10,000 for each wrongful act of retaliation.

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