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Diskeeper Accused of Scientology Indoctrination 779

Posted by kdawson
from the is-that-perfectly-clear dept.
touretzky writes "Two ex-employees have sued Diskeeper Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court after being fired, alleging that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employment (complaint, PDF). Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high-level, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit (PDF) appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment." The blogger at RealityBasedCommunity.net believes that the legal mechanism that Diskeeper is using to advance this argument ("motion to strike") is inappropriate and will be disallowed, but that the company will eventually be permitted to present its novel legal theory.
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Diskeeper Accused of Scientology Indoctrination

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  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:22PM (#26187749)
    I guess it is Raxco's PerfectDisk to defrag my disks from now on....
    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

      by cephah (1244770) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:31PM (#26187807)
      Otherwise I can recommend this one. [kessels.com]
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:54PM (#26187961)

        Otherwise I can recommend this one. [kessels.com]

        Note that JkDefrag uses the Windows defrag API, so it should be as safe to use as the original defrag. Also, Windows occasionally runs a boot optimizing defrag while your screen saver is on, which tends to mess up JkDefrag's logic. You might want to disable it, if you intend to run JkDefrag.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @09:09PM (#26188061)

      It would be worthwhile to ensure that everyone you know who might otherwise buy their software know that it funds a confidence scam.

    • by Jeian (409916) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @09:44PM (#26188267)

      How ironic it would be if the guy who attributes his success to Scientology, kills his company's sales through forcing it to be taught to his employees. ;p

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by PalmKiller (174161) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:03PM (#26188753) Homepage
      No Kidding, diskeeper is most likely based on alien technology that can be used to take over the planet at some point. Or they will all drink some spiked coolaid and go up in the mothership leaving us with no technical support.
  • What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:22PM (#26187753)
    Isn't that religious discrimination in the workplace? Seems like a cut and dried case to me. I'm sure the Co$ will lawyer up and try to fight it, but I don't see how they could possibly win this case.
    • by spazdor (902907) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:35PM (#26187831)

      It is going to boil down to technicalities about whether Scientology practice (or "tech") is actually a religious experience, or just a workplace management strategy. Scientology has gotten very good at dancing across that line when it suits them.

      When it's time to hand out tax exemptions, they're an association of faith. When they're incorporating Dianetics into secular practices, it's just a communications, planning, and skill development regiment.

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by M1rth (790840) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:57PM (#26187991)

      Cult of $cientology's standard response to ANYTHING is "freedom of religion, nyah nyah nyah."

      Caught evading taxes and breaking into the IRS [wikipedia.org]? No problem - "Freedom of Religion."

      Caught Trying to drive someone to suicide and framing them for crimes they didn't commit? [wikipedia.org] No problem - "Freedom of Religion."

      Making false medical claims? Drag a cross in the door, claim "Freedom of Religion."

      Killed Someone? [wikipedia.org] after removing them from a hospital? No problem - it was "Freedom of Religion."

      Take advantage of a poor man having a stroke and playing "Weekend at Bernie's" with him to badmouth your critics? [wikipedia.org] No problem - "Freedom of Religion."

      Framing people? Lying about them under oath? [wikipedia.org] "Fair Game" is a "Freedom of Religion" practice.

      Ordering someone killed? [wikipedia.org] Sorry, that's a practice of "Freedom of Religion."

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tisha_AH (600987) <Tisha.Hayes@gmail.com> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @09:30PM (#26188185) Journal

      I ran into a similar predicament at my former employer. Unbeknownst to me at the time of my interview and hiring there was a significant religious component that developed within the management group.
      Our Vice President of operations based many of his decisions on who went to "his" church. Of course, none of this was provable but it became increasingly apparent when he would lead us in prayer at the beginning of our managers meetings twice a week. There were two of us who were not "team players" in this regard, a highly respected director and myself (I managed three different departments and had the highest reviews of any of the managers in the operations group).

      When it came time for lay-off's, guess who was let go, the director and myself. Eventually the director was re-hired as a consultant. I decided to burn that bridge and when packing my personal effects I threw a notepad at the vice president and told him in a long tirade to get fuxed. Also, I refused to provide any future assistance when they called me later to figure out how to proceed on some of the projects I was working on.

      Since this was in a "right to work" state I had little recourse and would not go back, even if they had doubled my salary and given me a public apology. I went on to a different company and made it my personal crusade to steer every customer away from my earlier employer. Sometimes those types of layoffs come back in spades and bite you in the behind.

      Religious fanaticism, discriminatory hiring practices and the glass ceiling are still a major problem in many American companies to this day. I guess that you could fight these practices in court but in the long run, do you really want to work for people like this?

      Let the best talent go to where we are appreciated and our quirks (religious beliefs, the shoes you wear, your not so politically correct conversation or personal convictions) matter the least. They say that it is a different job marketplace today with companies able to pick and choose who they want. It is a fool who does not hire the most capable and talented individuals because of some personal bias caused by their own ignorance.

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by actionbastard (1206160) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:30PM (#26187801)
    There's one product I won't be buying anymore. Oh, and before you start, I worked for a company that tried to pull that indoctrination stuff on employees, until several people threatened them with the 'L' word and a few more quit nearly putting the company OOB. They stopped it fast.
  • Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by dotslashdot (694478) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:35PM (#26187827)
    Under title VII, they will lose. Unless the Supreme Court declares Title VII unconstitutional with respect to the 1st Amendment, of course, which they might since the new ones are a bunch of religious fundamentalists. The 1st Amendment does not give anyone a right to impose their religion on others as a condition of employment. http://www.eeoc.gov/types/religion.html [eeoc.gov]
    • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:45PM (#26188943) Journal

      Yeah... but the first amendment also does not prevent a private employer from discriminating on the basis of religion either, because it is impossible for a private employer to violate the first amendment (see state action doctrine). Instead, the violations (if there are any) are of federal statutory law.. and if a statute is deemed to violate the constitution the constitution will win. It looks like Diskeeper is trying to argue that current statutes that these employees are using to sue them are unconstitutional restraints on their first amendment rights to practice their religion. This is an interesting issue since there definitely are cases where it is completely acceptable to have private discriminate based on religion.... like for example it is perfectly acceptable to prevent non-Catholics from becoming Catholic priests. However, since Diskeeper maintains an outward appearance of being a normal, for-profit company, it will likely not get the extra leeway that an organization based around a particular religion would receive. Scientology is a whack-job cult, but its tax-exempt status is still a matter of law (unless they manage to screw up and lose it again).

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:36PM (#26187837)

    Diskeeper is not a country club. It's not some sort of fraternal organization of old men in funny hats.

    It is a COMPANY. It EMPLOYS People.

    Religious preferences, or training has nothing at all to do with the ability to program software. So it's not like some big hairy dude getting mad since the strip club won't let him on the pole.

    The laws are extraordinarily clear about this. You cannot base your decisions on whether to employ somebody, or to continue employing them based on religion. The 1st Amendment does not apply here. Last time I checked PEOPLE, NOT CORPORATIONS enjoyed constitutional protections such as the 1st Amendment.

    It's a novel argument, but it won't last 60 seconds in court.

  • by the_skywise (189793) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:37PM (#26187841)

    Here's the EEOC's official position-

    http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html#_Toc203359505 [eeoc.gov]

    A. Prohibited Conduct

    Religious harassment in violation of Title VII occurs when employees are: (1) required or coerced to abandon, alter, or adopt a religious practice as a condition of employment (this type of âoequid pro quoâ harassment may also give rise to a disparate treatment or denial of accommodation claim in some circumstances),[71] or (2) subjected to unwelcome statements or conduct that is based on religion and is so severe or pervasive that the individual being harassed reasonably finds the work environment to be hostile or abusive, and there is a basis for holding the employer liable.[72]
    1. Religious Coercion That Constitutes a Tangible Employment Action

    That's less than 2 minutes googling. But somehow I still think hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent figuring that out...

    • Missing the Point (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hax0r_this (1073148) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:58PM (#26188001)
      Diskkeeper's contention seems to rely on the First Amendment to the Constitution, which is a higher law than the one you cite. It doesn't matter what state or federal law says if that law violates the employer's constitutional rights.

      Now whether the employer actually has a constitutional right to force his employees to take Scientology classes is up for debate, but you can't win that debate by citing any number of lower laws.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:40PM (#26187861)

    If only the cult members could be let in on the joke!

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:40PM (#26187863)

    .... Wikipedia has a list of software that defragments disks. [wikipedia.org] Take out Diskeeper and you have a bunch of options. Nothing changes behaviour like the loss of sales.

  • by zyrorl (1069964) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:42PM (#26187871)
    Quite funny the results that come up when you search for l. ron hubbard and scientology on the diskeeper website http://www.diskeeper.com/Site-Search/SearchDestination.aspx?cx=002880524605280650330:dou154_yxny&cof=FORID%3A9;NB:1&ie=UTF-8&q=scientology&sa=Search [diskeeper.com] and http://www.diskeeper.com/Site-Search/SearchDestination.aspx?cx=002880524605280650330:dou154_yxny&cof=FORID%3A9;NB:1&ie=UTF-8&q=hubbard&sa=Search [diskeeper.com] Still i dont think he's advertising the religion enough with his software, surely it should have an "endorsed by church of scientology" banner etc. and maybe free coupons for their software if they convert or something.
  • by FooGoo (98336) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:46PM (#26187905)
    A friend of mine use to work there an always complained to me about the internal scientology efforts. He eventually left the company because they where driving him nuts.
  • Redundancy in TFS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 6Yankee (597075) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @08:47PM (#26187913)

    Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high levelI, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church ...but we're repeating ourselves...

  • by no1home (1271260) on Saturday December 20, 2008 @09:57PM (#26188359)

    About two years after high school, I started working for a local office supply business as a low-level manager. The owners, all of the upper staff, and most everyone else were Scientologists. They never SAID anything about the training manuals being Scientology, but that is exactly what they were, and, of course, we were forced to study them and pass the tests. They never actively tried to recruit me or make me go to one of their churches/meetings/whatever (though it was mentioned politely a couple times) and didn't discuss it too much, but the manuals were enough to make it clear: Scientology was the way to move up in the company. I played the game for a while and did well there while managing to not become brain-washed, but, eventually, I had to bail. I'm a patient, easy going guy, but I could only take so much of their pseudo-scientific, pseudo-psychological, pseudo-religious cult junk before blowing a fuse.

    What I want to know is, if Scientology was the key to success, why then did the business fail? That company no longer exists. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 20, 2008 @10:57PM (#26188717)

    My own experience with Diskeeper.

    This was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I showed up for an interview at the L.A offices in 2002 or 2003. At the time I knew almost nothing of the COS. I did know that my current boss was from a family of hard-core COS followers. This was one of my last interviews of my "junior years". I'm un-ease, eager to please, eager to get a new job, dare I say, very impressionable.

    So here I am waiting in the lobby. Looking around I see a row of huge books (10-12 inches tall), from L. Ron Hubbard, known to me only as a sci-fi writer, and I love sci-fi. Each book had titles related to good management, personal growth and similar stuff. More books a bit further, too far to see the titles. A picture of LRH was hanging on a wall in the back. Something was strange.

    I meet the RH person, after a few nice words; the conversation turns on to Dianetics, how incredibly great it is, how it would help me like it helped others, and how we all owe it to the great LRH, and how incredible he was. I nod my head and am somewhat curious.
    After some small talk, I am asked to do a quick personality test. I heard before that many businesses do this, but it was the first time for me. The questions where a bit strange, not quite like the personality test from high-school. Once done I gave it back and the HR "corrects it" on the spot in front of me. I then receive strange comment about some strength, and others I will need to improve.

    I then get a quick tour of the place, where I am told that every new employee gets a free (and mandatory) "3 day seminar" on the week-end before they start working. After that the employees must stay at the office several evenings for a few hours for at least a month (less often after that) to receive evaluations and more "training". They really want to keep people educated to the latest technology was my thought.

    More small talk walking around. Back to the lobby, "We will call you soon for another meeting. Once home, curious about that test I hit Google with some of the questions I remembered from the test.

    I was in shock! I studied COS the entire week-end and felt violated in my intellectual integrity. Looking back at it, this was clearly some attempt to enrol me into COS. The test is a sham, not recognize by any real professional in any science. Many claim it's purposely design for failure, you need help and guess who will help you.

    Reading on I realized that almost every phrase I heard was to lure me into COS. The "free 3 day seminar" coukd only be the horrible COS spirit breaking seminar used to bring new sheep in. The following evenings of reviews were for COS audits.

    I started to be angry. I read that like many cults they use these seminars to manipulate people in despair looking for help. I quickly understood that depressed by a boring job I was in the right state of mind to be a victim. Now I was just mad.

    Worst part was, the more I read on scientology and "audits" treatment, the more I realized my current boss (from a family of COS) was using these tactics at work. Making you feel like crap, incompetent, never doing any good work, so when he asked anything we would all comply ASAP. At least it was a wake up call, I changed job, realized how good I really am, and hated the COS ever since ... and it's personal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:54AM (#26189227)
      I interviewed with them at their Glendale office in 1991 or so. they wanted me to take over complete support of their VMS product. Half the interview was being told about Scientology by their HR director. 5 minutes with the IT director. The rest with the guy I'd be replacing. He seemed desperate to find someone and they offered me a job on the spot. I turned them down, telling them Scientology was the reason. What surprised me most was the tour of the office. Back then, VMS was pretty much the bulk of their business. yet they only had a single tech person supporting it. But they had room after room of phone support, probably 100 people at desks with headsets during my visit. I really doubt they were doing VMS customer support.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 21, 2008 @03:17AM (#26189803)

      I had a similar experience recently. I had no idea about the COS connection, until working on the pre-employment "questionnaires." One of them (that I saved) had TWO HUNDRED questions, including:

      Do you browse through railway timetables, directories or dictionaries just for pleasure?

      Do you intend two or less children in your family even though your health and income will permit more?

      I researched and found that the questionnaires were COS personality tests, used by COS to recruit new members, so I stopped doing the questionnaires. They still called me in for an interview, which I decided to attend. The HR person was exceedingly late, so I had to sit in their lobby staring at their shelf of Hubbard management books for a long time. When the HR person was finally ready, her first question was, "how would you define a product?" I gave my answer, she replied with Hubbard's. She mentioned that many employees are COS members, but that it was not a requirement for employment. She went on to share the virtues of the Hubbard management philosophy, employed at Diskeeper, and then dropped a bombshell--- if hired, I would be required to attend 4 hours of management classes per day in addition to my regular shift, five days per week, for the first 3 months of employment! The classes were very valuable, so I would not be paid for attending. Now that I think of it, it could have been 6 hours of class and a 6 hour shift... I definitely remember the total was 12 hours per day, though.

      At that point I wanted to leave, but I agreed when asked if I wanted to meet the hiring manager. She asked me to wait... and I did, for quite a while. The HR person eventually returned and said the hiring manager was still not ready, and asked if I could wait more. I politely excused myself and never looked back.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday December 20, 2008 @11:20PM (#26188823) Homepage

    Something backward about this. :P

  • Good Luck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:37AM (#26189125)

    Evangelical Christians have been doing this for years. You've either 'found Jesus' or you're out. And complaining about a hostile workplace can work both ways. The Christians can claim a hostile environment is being created by those of other faiths in their workplace.

  • first amendment law (Score:5, Informative)

    by azakem (924479) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @12:52AM (#26189205)
    IANAL, but if I had to guess...

    Diskeeper is probably arguing from Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos. A gym open to the public but affiliated with the Church of Latter Day Saints fired a janitor who wasn't a Mormon. The janitor sued, arguing the exemption for religious organizations from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (prohibiting religious discrimination in employment) violated the establishment clause of the 1st amendment. IIRC, the Church argued that this exemption was a permissible accommodation of the Church's free exercise rights under the 1st amendment. The Supreme Court agreed with the Church.

    The problem is, Diskeeper isn't a religious organization, so they don't qualify for the statutory exemption in Title VII. While religious instruction in the workplace may or may not be lawful, making continued employment dependent on religious instruction in a particular faith almost certainly is unlawful.

    Hopefully Diskeeper goes down at the summary judgment stage, if not on a motion to dismiss.
  • by antispam_ben (591349) on Sunday December 21, 2008 @01:26AM (#26189375) Journal

    A religion does two things: Prays to God, and passes the collection basket.

    Scientology is not a religion.

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion.

Eureka! -- Archimedes

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