Monday, March 7, 2011
The Church of Scientology, at the center of much litigation of interest to tax-exempt organization lawyers and scholars, is being sued for violating child labor laws. In Lawsuit claims Church of Scientology violated child labor and wage laws, the St. Petersburg Times reports that lawsuits filed in California state court allege that the plaintiff –
• Was permitted to attend school about one day a week because working for Sea Org [a religious order of Scientology] took priority.
• Spent his childhood working at least 40 hours a week, and often more than 100 hours a week for pay that ranged from $35 to $50 a week.
• Had no work permits required of minors.
• Was made to work back-to-back 12-hour days in the fall of 2007, when the church was pushing its staff to produce and sell a new book release.
• From 2008 to 2010, was punished along with other workers for lack of production. He was made to run laps wearing a jacket and tie, clean grease traps and do push ups.
• Worked past midnight for two months in 2009 after rising at 6 a.m. each day, and was made to do push ups and dig ditches for lack of production.
• Suffered an accident at age 16 while cleaning a "notching" machine at the church's printing unit, Bridge Publications. Half of his right index finger was cut off and no ambulance was called, the lawsuit asserts. It says Montalvo was taken to the hospital but told by the Sea Org to tell doctors he was a volunteer. He was not to mention Scientology.
A Scientology spokesman reportedly said that he could not comment on the lawsuits and observed that the plaintiff had taken Scientology property (computer hard drives) valued at tens of thousands of dollars when he fled the organization.