EDITORIAL: This is something I went through with a Scientologist I worked for. A group of us was signed up for a ‘business seminar’ that we were told was for entrepreneurs. Our boss, the owner of the company, said he wanted us to go because it would help us succeed in his company and in life. He paid for each of us to take this course.
We got to the building which is the Scientology building in Tampa, Florida, which used to be a cigar factory. They hold tours which has exhibits and artifacts from the factory. They also have somewhat of a museum of Scientology paraphernalia and propaganda. We went in and signed in and then were escorted into a room where we took an exam of sorts. It was definitely a psychological test with a meter type timer. We had tried to say we were there for the seminar only but they insisted this was part of it and our boss had already paid our fees so we needed to follow through. I messed with my answers because I knew exactly what was happening. I figured I might as well have some fun with it lol.
Next, we were led into a seminar type room with a lobby area and food counter. We were told the seminar would begin soon. We grabbed sodas and snacks which, btw, were all healthy and strange brands. It finally was time for the seminar to begin so we all headed into the conference room and the slideshow began.
Now, when we were told about this seminar, our boss said it was a couple of hours long and was a great investment in our future. We had already been there almost 2 hours and the ‘seminar’ was just getting underway. As we listened and watched, we tried to find out exactly how long this was going to take. It took some time but we eventually found out that after the ‘seminar’, we would be meeting with counselors to discuss some things. It was at that point I said I didn’t care if I lost my job, I wasn’t staying any longer. The three people that came with me all agreed so we headed for the door. The other guy who came on his own but was from our office said he was staying. I know he didn’t want to get in trouble more than anything.
As we reached the door, a couple of staff (cult members) blocked our way and asked where we were going and what was wrong. We tried to say we had other things to do and it was running long so we had to leave early but they insisted we stay until the end. We were reminded our boss had paid for us to be there. They did not move from in front of us.
To make a longer story shorter, I led the way and moved around them. My group followed. As we went through the ‘museum’ headed toward the door, we were again blocked but by four this time. I was determined now so I pushed past them and told my group to ‘come on’. The members scurried after us saying things in an attempt to intimidate us into staying. We pushed through the door to the outdoors, laughing as we rushed toward my car. We didn’t say a whole lot on the way back to the parking lot where their cars were. The air was thick with the thought that we were all glad we got the heck out of there.
Within two months, I wasn’t working there anymore. My supervisor, the boss’ wife, asked me to confirm something I knew to be untrue in a meeting to other employees and I refused, instead saying I couldn’t confirm something I knew to be untrue and she knew that.
I was let go that day. I won’t lie for anyone!
According to the Courthouse News Service, Echevarria was forced to watch several videos about Scientology and was told she would receive a 25 cents-per-hour raise for each “betterment” course she took through the “church.”
Betterment courses can range from humanitarian aid, drug programs, volunteer missionary programs and on-site rehabilitation programs for prison inmates.
Echevarria informed a manager at the company that she identifies as Catholic, “not a Scientologist” and that she “believes in God, was baptized Catholic and attends a Christian Church,” according to the lawsuit. She refused to participate in the so-called self-betterment courses.
Despite doing her actual job “admirably” her supervisors “did not see the videos as optional” and wouldn’t stop talking about them over the course of the five months she was there,” the lawsuit claims. Not participating made her ineligible for any raises, her coworkers treated her negatively and her “workplace environment became extremely unpleasant.” She said that her co-workers “clearly did not approve of her choice not to participate.”
It wasn’t long before she was fired for “poor job performance” by the same manager she told she was a Catholic. She’s now suing for “punitive damages for discrimination, retaliation and tortious discharge.” Her attorney also clarified that he wasn’t sure if the “water business” was a front-company for Scientology.