Scientology lawsuits draw attention to work of 'Sea Org'
At the edge of arid foothills far outside Los Angeles, hundreds of Scientology followers live on a gated, 500-acre campus and work long hours for almost no pay reproducing the works of founder L. Ron Hubbard and creating the church's teaching and promotional materials.
The church says its 5,000 so-called Sea Organization members are religious devotees akin to monks who are exempt from wage requirements and overtime. But two lawsuits filed by two former Sea Org members, as they are known, allege the workers are little more than slave laborers, forced to work 100-hour weeks for pennies and threatened with manual labor if they cause trouble.
Marc Headley and his wife, Claire, are seeking back pay and overtime that could add up to $1 million each, according to their attorney, Barry Van Sickle....