Florida Business Forced Scientology on Employees, Feds Assert
(MIAMI) -- The federal government is accusing a Miami business of having forced employees to practice Scientology.
Dynamic Medical Services, which provides medical and chiropractic treatment, is accused by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of having compelled at least four of its employees to participate in Scientology religious practices, and of having fired two for their refusal.
The company, in a statement faxed to ABC News, says it prides itself on the diversity of its staff and that it denies that it engaged in any improper or unlawful actions with regard to its employees. It intends, it says, to vigorously defend itself against the government's "baseless allegations" and expects to be vindicated.
The Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment by ABC News.
According to the EEOC's complaint, filed on May 8, Dynamic Medical, owned by Dr. Dennis Nobbe, violated federal law by requiring employees named in the suit to spend at least half their work days in courses that involved "Scientology religious practices, such as screaming at ashtrays or staring at someone for eight hours without moving."
According to an EEOC statement, the company required one employee "to undergo an 'audit' by connecting herself to an 'E-Meter,' which Scientologists believe is a religious artifact, and required her to undergo 'purification' treatment at the Church of Scientology."
When employees protested having to attend the Scientology courses, they were told, according to the suit, that these were a requirement of their job. Two employees who refused to participate "and/or did not conform to Scientology religious beliefs" were terminated.
In a statement issued by the EEOC, Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the commission's Miami district office, called the Dynamic Medical Service's actions a shameful violation of federal law.
"Employees' freedom from religious coercion at the workplace must be protected," he said.
In the same statement, Malcolm Medley, the EEOC's district director for Miami, said, "When an employer makes an employment decision based on employees' failure to adopt the employer's religious beliefs, it violates federal law. The EEOC will act vigorously to protect the rights of workers who are subjected to religious harassment and coercion in the workplace."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio