Church of Scientology of Los Angeles. Photo by Scientology Media [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Church of Scientology of Los Angeles. Photo by Scientology Media [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Attorneys for a Pasadena company contend that a former employee’s lawsuit, alleging she was fired for refusing to participate in mandatory on-the-job Scientology classes, should be submitted to arbitration.

The lawyers, who represent Lusida Rubber Products Inc., also argue in newly filed court papers that a judge should consider dismissing Annie R. Lee’s lawsuit because it was filed “in direct violation” of a mandatory arbitration provision in her employment agreement.

“(Lee) should be prohibited from using this improperly filed lawsuit as a vehicle to publicize her wrongful-employment-related accusations against (Lusida),” the defense attorneys state in their court papers.

The Lusida attorneys say the arbitration agreement language in the employment agreement Lee signed was “detailed and unambiguous” and that she had the opportunity to consult with a lawyer before she signed the document.

Lee’s lawsuit, filed Dec. 8 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges wrongful termination, religious discrimination, failure to prevent religious discrimination, harassment and retaliation

Lusida CEO Wayne Chin and former company Vice President and Secretary William Johonnesson are named as defendants, along with the company.

Lee is seeking unspecified damages and an injunction enjoining Lusida from requiring employees to take Scientology lessons.

The suit states that Lee worked at Lusida Rubber from June through December 2014 as a customer service representative.

A month after Johonnesson was hired in September 2014, the company began requiring all employees to “attend and engage in a mandatory, 30-minute class during work hours that was based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology,” the suit alleges.

Lee claims she began feeling “pressured and brainwashed” into accepting thoughts, methodologies and religious beliefs that were not in line with her own faith. She says she complained about having to take the training courses, but was told she had no choice.

Lee was fired in December 2014 after being given poor performance reviews, the suit states.

Lusida provides custom rubber and plastic molds as well as other products nationwide for food processors, appliance manufacturers and other industries, according to the company’s attorneys’ court papers. A hearing on the Lusida motion is scheduled for May 9.

— City News Service 

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