Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Class action to be launched against Church of -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

TONY EASTLEY: A class action is to be launched against the Church of Scientology after a leaked
draft report by the Fair Work Ombudsman earlier this week raised claims of false imprisonment and
forced labour.

It's understood the Ombudsman's final report into the Church of Scientology will be released to the
complainants and to the church sometime today.

A new complainant has told AM when she was in the church she was expected to work thirteen hours a
day, seven days a week.

Sarah Dingle reports.

SARAH DINGLE: Lisa O'Kane joined the Church of Scientology in 1999, after reading a book about
Dianetics, a form of Scientology counselling.

In 2002 she says she signed a five year contract as an "auditor" or counsellor with the church.

LISA O'KANE: I was supposed to be on a Monday to Friday schedule from nine o'clock in the morning
to six o'clock at night. Sometimes, you know, for maybe six months I might do just Monday to
Friday, but then for three months I might be there seven days a week from 9am until 10pm.

I just can't even describe how horrible and hard it was and you just, you could not get out of it.

You couldn't take a day off. It just wouldn't be approved and if you did or you were sick, you
would get constantly hounded.

SARAH DINGLE: You received a group certificate at the end of each financial year for that period 02
to 07/08. How much were you getting paid a year?

LISA O'KANE: Well, very small amounts. For the financial year ending 2002, I was paid $1,791 for
the year; 2003 I was paid $2,759 for the year; and then in 2008 I was paid $1,411 for the year.

SARAH DINGLE: The Fair Work Ombudsman is currently investigating claims of false imprisonment and
forced labour against the Church of Scientology.

Earlier this week a draft of the Ombudsman's report, leaked to Lateline, found it was likely that
the church had incorrectly classed employees as volunteers.

The final report is expected to be released today.

But now Steven Lewis from the law firm Slater and Gordon says they've conducted their own
investigations and will be launching a class action on behalf of church workers, going back six
years.

STEVEN LEWIS: The former employees will be entitled to a number of entitlements. The first one
would be back pay - or non-pay - that they haven't received. Secondly they would be entitled to
holiday pay. Thirdly, they'd be entitled to superannuation, and in some instances they may even be
entitled to overtime.

SARAH DINGLE: The Church of Scientology told the ABC all religious work is done by volunteers and
that it completely rejects claims made by embittered former members.

TONY EASTLEY: And that is Sarah Dingle reporting.