Federal Welfare Court overturns judgment on Scientologists as employment agents

December 14, 2000

Kassel, Germany - The Federal Labor Agency may not disregard membership in the Scientology organization in licensing a commercial employment agency (AZ: B 11/7 AL 30/99 R), according to the Federal Welfare Court.

In making this decision on Thursday, the Federal Welfare Court contradicted Rheinland-Pfalz State Welfare Court. That court had decided that legal commercial untrustworthiness could not be derived solely from membership in Scientology.

The actual case was about the complaint of a 44-year-old masseuse who had obtained a permit to be an au-pair placement agent in 1994 from the Federal Labor Agency. The permit was revoked one year later after the federal agency learned that the woman was a Scientology member.

The revocation was supported, among other things, by a corresponding instruction from the Labor Ministry. In the legal dispute that followed the masseuse indeed commented that she had a "proselytizing mission," but that she only carried that out in her private life. She rejected the concerns of the federal agency as unjustified, that personal data from au-pair personnel could be misused for recruitment purposes or that the personnel would be assigned to and put under the influence of Scientology families.

The state welfare court required the Federal Labor Agency to issue the permit. The Federal Welfare Court has now overturned this decision and referred the case back to the state welfare court for review.

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