For nearly two years between 2011 and 2013, Julie A. Rohrbacher worked as a receptionist at Teton Therapy, a Wyoming business that provides physical and occupational therapy services.
She filed a lawsuit against the company this past week alleging that her boss, Jeff McMenamy, forced her to adopt Scientology if she wanted a raise or a promotion. (When she refused, she received neither and was pressured to resign.)
The lawsuit lists in detail what McMenamy wanted her to do. For example, a salary raise required her to take the “Code Course,” which was written by L. Ron Hubbard and promoted Scientology. She didn’t complete the course and voiced her complaints about the attempted religious indoctrination. When she later applied for a managerial position, that Code Course incident was held against her and she was also told to complete a week-long “Scientology-based management course”… at a location in Clearwater, Florida which also happens to be where the Church of Scientology has its Flag Land Base. Rohrbacher was also told to “consult with a Scientology life-coach.”
She didn’t do those things. She didn’t get the job. That’s when she was told to quit and take a two week severance package or be fired.
She’s specifically saying this is religious harassment and that McMenamy created a hostile work environment. She also claims religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Defendant’s conduct directly caused Ms. Rohrbacher to suffer severe mental and emotional distress and economic losses.
Ms.Rohrbacher, as a Non-Scientologist, was specifically targeted and harmed by the Defendant’s cumulative conduct, which exposed Ms. Rohrbacher, a Non-Scientologist, to disadvantageous terms and conditions of employment in the form of a hostile work environment to which practicing Scientologists and/or Defendant’s employees who participated in the Defendant’s Scientology practices and requirements, were not subjected.
Defendant, intentionally subjected Ms. Rohrbacher to more adverse, discriminatory, hostile, and retaliatory practices, concerning the terms and conditions of her employment, than the way Defendant treated employees who were Scientologists and/or who participated in Defendant’s mandatory Scientology-based practices and training, and/or complied with Defendant’s mandatory Scientology-based terms and conditions of employment of their employment.
McMenamy hasn’t responded to the suit, saying that neither he nor his attorney had seen the complaint yet. But if the allegations are true, it’s hard to imagine this was anything but a promotion of religion in the workplace. We often see these cases with Christian bosses forcing the Bible on employees, but it’s not limited to just one belief.
What’s troubling is the idea that several other employees may have been subject to the same religious pressure, but none of them dared speak up about it… until this week.