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Scientology refuseniks sue over compulsory workplace courses

Diskeeper fights religious discrimination suit

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Two ex-employees of Diskeeper have sued the firm over allegations they were obliged to take part in Scientology training courses as a mandatory condition of employment.

Alexander Godelman, former chief information officer of Diskeeper, and Marc Le Shay, former Diskeeper Automation Planning Officer, filed a joint suit of unfair dismissal at Los Angeles Superior last month alleging that the disc utilities firm made it compulsory to attend Scientology-based courses. They charge that their refusal to participate in the courses led to their dismissal.

The claimants allege that Diskeeper violated Californian employment law and engaged in religious discrimination.

Diskeeper founder and chief exec Craig Jensen is a committed Scientologist who allegedly told Godelman, who is Jewish, that his attendance at Scientology-based courses was non-negotiable while talking up the supposed benefits of the course. Le Shay refused to attend the course, and Godelman's support of this stance ultimately led the the dismissal of the duo, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit (pdf) claims unspecified damages as well as an injunction that would prevent Disklabs from making attendance at Hubbard Study Technology courses compulsory. The utility tools firm responded by filling a legal action (pdf) that attempts to remove this sanction from consideration during a possible trial.

Disklabs argues that religious instruction in the workplace is protected by the First Amendment, making the proposed sanction unconstitutional.

The utilities tool firm (formerly known as Executive Software) is no stranger to controversy over its chief exec's adherence to Scientology. The inclusion of the Diskeeper utility in Windows 2000 sparked concerns, never substantiated, that the tool might harvest data from users' machines.

The German government asked Microsoft for the ability to inspect source code before it was prepared to allow the use of the technology of German government systems. Microsoft declined, but resolved the resulting impasse by releasing a tool that removed the utility from systems. ®

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