Discriminatory practices known as “sect filters” are widely used in Germany, particularly in Bavaria, to prevent Scientologists from occupying government functions or obtaining a service contract from any state, city, or local community agency.
“Sect filters” are questionnaires or surveys that are to be filled out by employment or service contract candidates, allegedly to certify that they are not Scientologists and have not ever attended a course in what they termed “L. Ron Hubbard Technology“.
The use of such Filter has been declared illegal by several Bavarian Labour Court decisions, but the state government in Bavaria continues to insist on its use.
In March 2017, former SPD Bavarian State MP Isabell Zacharias led a campaign against the personnel director at the Munich House of Art, or Haus Der Kunst, had his relationship with the well-known institution terminated after 22 years. His religious affiliation to Scientology was known by the management for years and had never been an issue.
By later 2015, the members of the House of Art´s Workers Council began a concerted campaign to have him dismissed by making his Scientology membership an issue for both the management and its supervisory board, which is headed by the Bavarian State Minister of Culture.
After Bavaria’s culture minister was allegedly found to have been negligent in his duties in February 2017 when an internal investigation revealed that the unnamed Scientologist was still working for Haus Der Kunst, the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic security agency – placed the Haus Der Kunst staff under surveillance in order to find out if there were any other Scientologists that had been being employed.
Though the House of Art’s management had been aware of the religious affiliation of the former personnel director, who had an unblemished performance record that dated back more than two decades, various politicians exerted pressure on the Haus Der Kunst after it had initially refused to comply with the drive to have the personnel director removes, the Scientologist was abruptly terminated in March 2017.
Prior to being dismissed, he had received the backing of two managers of the Haus Der Kunst as well as dozens of employees who publicly protested the decision shortly after he was sacked. This prompted the by-then fired Scientologist to file a formal complaint with Munich’s Labor Court, which on 3 April upheld the religious freedom law under the German Constitution and ruled that the personnel director’s dismissal was unjustified.
The leadership of the House of Art has since settled, and will pay the plaintiff €110,000 in severance as well as provide him with a full pension. The press office contacted New Europe, commenting that,
The labor court procedure with the former personnel administrator was terminated on 3 April 2019 at the Labor Court of Munich by a settlement. The termination of the former personnel administrator is effective as of 31.3.2017.
For 25 years of employment, the former HR administrator receives a severance payment for the period from the date of termination to the completion of the procedure. The compensation is based on the salary of a HR Administrator and is within the normal scope. Further demands of the former personnel administrator for damages and compensation for pain has rejected the court.
By accepting the settlement by both sides, the procedure is now legally closed.
*This article has been updated to include a statement from the House of Art, and corrected to reflect the exact procedures, and that the court case ended on April 3, 2019, and not April 19, 2019, as previously stated.