CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

"Scientology questionnaire-Refusal to answer legitimate"
Only one individual case decision-City worker sues - membership alone not enough

by Hans-Peter Kastenhuber ("Nuernberger Nachrichten," Munich, October 31, 2000)
(translated from German)

Munich For the celebrating Scientology center the court decision is of fundamental importance, for the Bavarian Interior Ministry "not more than one individual case decision": the Munich Labor Court sided with an employee of the City of Munich who refused to fill out for his employer a questionnaire in which he was supposed to make statements about his relationship with the controversial Scientology Organization.
The complainant has been employed with the community since 1990 - "in a non-sensitive area," as our newspaper was assured by Munich personnel spokesman Thomas Boehle. It was also said that the man had "never been conspicuous." But when information was received (which came, according to Scientology, from Constitutional Security) that the employee maintained contact with the Hubbard sect which has been categorized by the German Interior Ministry as counter-constitutional, the man was presented with a questionnaire approved by the state administration. The employee refused to make any response, saying that this was solely a matter of personal business and he filed suit in the labor court against the City of Munich.
Lack of evidence
His opinion was validated in court. It said in the basis of the judgment that an employer absolutely may be interested in whether its employees are members of a counter-constitutional organization. "But without tangible evidence of counter-constitutional actions" the employee may not be questioned about "business or miscellaneous contacts" with such organizations.
The mere fact that the complainant was on the register and worked as director of mail distribution and later budget of the Scientology Church Bavaria, Inc. from 1978 to 1982, according to the labor court, no more proved counter-constitutional activity than did mere membership in the organization. However, the court did not address the question of whether Scientology actually pursued counter-constitutional goals.
Sources in the City of Munich said there was little prospect that the decision could be overturned in a later hearing and that, therefore, according to Thomas Boehle, there was little inclination to file an appeal. The personnel spokesman viewed the decision more along the lines of the nationwide applicable judgment in comparable cases whereby membership alone in a counter-constitutional organization is not sufficient grounds to reject job applicants.
A spokesman for the Bavarian Interior Ministry, Michael Ziegler, does not think the integrity of the questionnaire developed by his department has been put into question by the court decision. For exactly four years, the Free State [of Bavaria] has been asking civil service applicants about any contacts with Scientology and has recommended Bavarian cities do the same. Ziegler has never heard of major problems or of a case being defeated in court before.
The big legal offensive announced by Scientology against the Free State's restrictive course upon the introduction of the questionnaire in 1996 has never met with any response in any case up to this one. Ziegler: "This behavior is part of the sect's systematic disinformation campaign." His chief, Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein, had even challenged the organization to file suit because of the questionnaire instead of always blowing "hot air" about it.

German Scientology News

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