Narconon & Get Off Drugs Naturally under investigation by Fairwork Australia

Last update October 16, 2013

We have received a request from Nerida of Get Of Drugs Naturally to either remove or correct reference to this investigation. We believe this reference is relevant and so will be uploading all relevant documents and notations on this page here.

  1. Official title of document issued September 2011: Statement of Findings in relation to the Fair Work Ombudsman‟s investigation of entities related to the Church of Scientology, Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally - This link is an 88 page PDF document which details the finding of the investigation

  2. Letter from Nerida (pdf) first received October 11, 2013 advising us the investigation has ended because it was settled. We could not find any reference to this on the Fairwork Australia website so do not know what the terms of the settlement were. On Monday Oct 14th - have sent a request to Nerida and happy to post details of the settlement if and when received. (As at March 12, 2014 - no details of the settlement have ever been received.)

  3. Whilst Nerida states that Get of Drugs Naturally has no legal connection with the Church of Scientology, the Ombudsman determined that a key witness made similar claims relating to Church of Scientology entities, Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally and therefore included all entities in the investigation. So even though no legal connection exists, it could be concluded that similar business practices are utilised in all the entities investigated.

We think it is important to note that 'considerable resources' of Fairwork Australia were applied to investigation of this case. On page 35 of the report we note these points:

  • What the Church of Scientology and workers might do to reduce further complaints

9. The Fair Work Ombudsman has also investigated two other entities in detail as follows:

(a) Narconon; and

(b) Get Off Drugs Naturally.

10. The investigation relating to these two entities remains ongoing (see below under the heading Witness 4). It should be further noted the Church of Scientology and Get Off Drugs Naturally assert that Narconon and Get off Drugs Naturally have no legal or other connection with the Church of Scientology. Given Witness 4‟s allegations relate to the Church of Scientology entities, Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally the investigation findings for these entities are contained in the same report.

111. While the Fair Work Ombudsman has determined that that no further action will be taken in respect of the eight witnesses as they relate to the Church of Scientology entities, we note that the Church of Scientology entities fall within the jurisdiction of the FW Act and its predecessor the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

112. Considerable public resources have been expended in the investigation of the eight workers who have been engaged by the Church of Scientology. In addition, the Fair Work Ombudsman is currently investigating a further six complaints from workers relating to the Church of Scientology. The period of time to which the complaints relate extend over an extensive period of time and is indicative of systemic problems relating to the way labour has been obtained by the Church of Scientology which has caused these arrangements to be the subject of external criticism.

113. Irrespective of the outcome of these matters, the Fair Work Ombudsman is concerned by the number of complaints it has received from former Scientology workers. At the very least, the volume of complaints should alert the Church of Scientology that there needs to be a change to the current practices relating to how they recruit and receive free labour from their followers, should they hope to reduce the number of complaints into the future.

114. Equally, the Fair Work Ombudsman offers advice to persons giving their labour for free to any religious organisation that they should be mindful of their intentions in doing so and to the extent possible, protect their own interests and withdraw their labour if they perceive that their relationship ceases to be truly voluntary, immediately.

115. In many instances, the witnesses provided considerable free labour to the Church of Scientology over a period of several years, where they either knew or ought to have known that they were unlikely to be paid for that work from an early stage. Some claimed the use of unconscionable tactics by the Church of Scientology designed to retain their commitment. The Fair Work Ombudsman makes no findings in respect of those allegations. The Fair Work Ombudsman advises that if workers providing services to religious or any other organisation consider that they are being subject to intimidation or other illegal pressure to continue to provide their labour, they should contact police.

116. Future complaints received by Fair Work Ombudsman will be investigated on their merits.

117. The Fair Work Ombudsman will take into account the content of this report and the recommendations made in it in determining what an appropriate enforcement outcome is, should any contraventions be found.

Our previous update:

We believe Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally are part of an ongoing investigation undertaken by Fairwork Australia regarding their employment practices. In essence the case revolves around whether individuals working for “GODN” (or other Church of Scientology Entities) are employees or volunteers. The complaint being that individuals are basically under paid.

Yarra Ranges Council Planners - We ask you: Is this the kind of organisation we can trust to keep to run a safe, efficient operation? One under investigation, one that appears to be cutting corners and paying low wages?

What has led to this investigation?

11. Complaints were made publicly, on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation‟s (ABC) Four Corners program and in debate in the Commonwealth Senate in early 2010, including allegations of unsatisfactory or unlawful employment practices.

12. As a result of the allegations in the Four Corners broadcast, the Fair Work Ombudsman initiated an investigation on 9 March 2010. The scope of the investigation was to consider the allegations of people working for the Church of Scientology and related entities for long hours without being paid for that work.

Do the Church of Scientology entities, Narconon or Get off Drugs Naturally engage workers as employees or volunteers?

53. The possibility exists the Church of Scientology entities, Narconon and Get Off Drugs Naturally, do not employ people and workers for them should more properly be classified as volunteers.

62. Each witness had a significant relationship with the Church of Scientology entities, and in some cases with Narconon and/or Get Off Drugs Naturally. It is clear from the evidence that each performed work of some kind for one or more of these organisations for a significant amount of time and that each was remunerated very poorly. Each spoke of maltreatment in the course of their relationship with the organisations and spoke of extreme difficulty in ending their relationship.

63. Some of the witnesses were uncertain about the nature of their relationship with the Church of Scientology entities and were unclear about whether they were employees or volunteers.