Saturday, 26 July 2014

Scientologists to be investigated for workplace harassment in France

Originally posted by mnql1 on ESMB

Translation of a French article posted on July 23, 2014 on the website:
L’Eglise de scientologie visée par une enquête préliminaire pour «harcèlement moral» et «abus de faiblesse»

Church of Scientology object of a preliminary investigation for "psychological harassment" and "abuse of weakness"

by Vincent Vantighem
July 23, 2014

According to our information, the public prosecutor's office in Versailles [capital of France's Yvelines department] launched a preliminary investigation at the beginning of June concerning the Spiritual Association of the Church of Scientology (Celebrity Centre) and several of its members for alleged acts of "psychological harassment" and "abuse of weakness." The investigation was spurred by a complaint filed on June 3 by twelve employees of Arcadia, a company that is based in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône and specializes in conversions of attic space and extensions of houses.

The employees assert that they were subjected to "psychological harassment" during training provided by consultants who, the employees say, are members of the Church of Scientology. "Scientology infiltrated the company for the chief purpose of plundering its resources," says Olivier Morice, the lawyer who is defending the employees.

The Versailles public prosecutor's office confirmed that it "assigned the preliminary investigation to the Assistance and Intervention Unit for Sectarian Abuses" [CAIMADES, a police unit specializing in cult-related cases], which operates under the Central Office for the Repression of Violence against Persons (OCRVP).

The alleged abuses started at the beginning of 2013. "We knew that the president of the company was a Scientologist," says Stéphane, one of the employees (the names have been changed in this article). "He talked all the time about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. But things really degenerated when he brought in his buddies ..." Consultants were called in to "improve the company's performance" and to provide training to the employees.

"At first, it was for an hour and a half every week. Then it expanded to half a day. Then an entire day," says Julie, another employee. A few weeks later, the trainers stopped hiding the Scientology books from which they took the exercises that were supposed to improve communication between us."

Among these exercises, the ones Julie remembers most are the "Training Routines" that the Church of Scientology frequently uses. "The first one involves staying still for two hours without moving or saying anything while facing another employee," she explains. "Later, we had to read passages from Alice in Wonderland. Then we had to repeat the question 'Do fish swim?' and the answer was: 'Yes, birds fly.'"

Julie, a 27-year-old sales representative, complains that she cracked during so-called "bullbaiting" exercises. "For that one, you had to allow yourself to be insulted for hours without reacting. I couldn't do it, so the trainer demonstrated it to me by violently telling a colleague to give him a blowjob!"

"If we didn't comply with their orders, we were immediately placed on a blacklist," adds Stéphane. "They made life impossible to drive us to leave the company." The 33-page complaint is very detailed and states that, in a year and a half, 25 of the 90 employees dropped out of the company by resignation, dismissal, or contractual termination.

"In addition to the controlling the minds of the employees, the main goal of the Church of Scientology was to rake in money," says lawyer Olivier Morice. For example, Cyrille Pincanon, who was hired as a consultant for the technical teams, was paid 437,531 euros through his company, CYP Conseil, for "improving the quality of construction sites."

Though he is named in the complaint, he denied any proselytizing when 20 Minutes contacted him. "Yes, I carried out a mission that went very well. On my scale of 0 to 110%, I obtained a satisfaction rate of 103%. I can show all the evidence of my work, all the documents ... " But when asked about his alleged membership in the Church of Scientology and its methods, he bristled: "My methods are my business and mine alone. As for the Church of Scientology, I have nothing to say to you about that!"

The spokesperson for the Celebrity Centre, Eric Roux insists that he has never heard of Arcadia, but he admits that the names of the persons who are the object of the employees' complaint "ring a bell." "I have no information about this case," he says. "But at first glance, by intuition, it sounds baseless to me ... "

Presumed innocent, the representatives of the Church of Scientology could be summoned by the CAIMADES unit in September.

20 Minutes attempted to contact the president of Arcadia, but he was not immediately available. 
Translation of a French article posted on July 24, 2014 on the website:
Arcadia: «Ce n’est pas parce que je suis scientologue que mon entreprise l’est»
Arcadia: "Just because I'm a Scientologist does mean my company is a Scientology enterprise"

by Vincent Vantighem
July 24, 2014

Frédéric Langlois, president of Arcadia, is the target of a complaint filed by employees who accuse him of implementing management methods associated with the Church of Scientology. He responded to our questions ...

"Surprised" and "saddened," Frédéric Langlois, the president of Arcadia, learned on Wednesday from 20 Minutes that he is the subject of a complaint filed by twelve of his employees for "psychological harassment" and "abuse of weakness." The employees asserted that they were forced by their president to take training provided, according to them, by Scientologists. The Versailles public prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation at the beginning of June.

On Thursday afternoon, Frédéric Langlois agreed to answer questions from 20 Minutes.

Did you know that twelve of your employees had filed a complaint against you and the Church of Scientology for "psychological harassment?"
Until now, I hadn't been informed of the complaint against me. I found out from your article. I don't know the precise details.

Many of your employees say in the complaint that management methods associated with the Church of Scientology were used in your company. Are you a member of the Church of Scientology?
I am a Scientologist. I don't hide it. The persons who know me know this. But there was never any question of practicing Scientology in the company. The fact that we use certain administrative processes for operating a business doesn't make the company a Scientology enterprise.

There are many companies in the world that use L. Ron Hubbard's business processes. That doesn't mean they are Scientology companies.

So you acknowledge that you've used L. Ron Hubbard administrative processes in your company?
Some of them, yes. That's business organization. They're management methods that are taught in schools ...

In their complaint, the employees claimed to have been forced to follow Training Routines that are frequently used by the Church of Scientology, for example, reading passages from "Alice in Wonderland" or taking insults from colleagues. Is this true?
This is exactly why I don't wish to get into details. I don't know what the complaint says. I don't want to answer this question until I understand every aspect of the complaint.

Do you know about the Training Routines method?
Yes, I do. I've applied it myself in my life as a person. I find this very funny. But there was never an intention to implement that here.

According to the employees, Scientologists were also brought in to the company as consultants. Is this correct?
Yes, they are Scientologists. I met them at the church. I have no problem talking about this. I know a lot of people. Some are Scientologists, others aren't. They came and they went.

There are 80 persons in the company. People come, people go ... If I were to use everyone in the church, there would be millions of people here. That's not what this is about.

Twenty employees left your company in a little over a year. Did you say to yourself there's a problem?
Yes, we can't say there's no problem. This is a big issue for me. It's too complicated, too early to identify a determining factor. I have to step back and look.

How is your company faring today?
I will only say that many employees had predicted we wouldn't hold out until June. So there does seem to be an intention behind this.

Do you think the purpose of the complaint is to destroy your company?
This is a bit what I'm feeling today. For what purpose? I don't know.

What is your outlook today?
I'm surprised and saddened. I'm very sad because these are people I trained myself ... I'm waiting to see exactly what their complaint says.

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