Wyoming employer settles to prevent trial on forcing worker into Scientology

Back in December 2018, we posted a federal complaint filed by a woman in Wyoming named Julie L. Rohrbacher, who was suing her former employer, Teton Therapy, for trying to force her into Scientology courses.

As we noted then, this was not an unusual situation. Every several months we seem to hear about a chiropractor or dentist or veterinarian forcing L. Ron Hubbard material on their employees. And that’s no accident — Scientology targets those professions in a front group it calls WISE, for World Institute of Scientology Enterprises.

In this case, Rohrbacher was hired in 2011 to be a receptionist for Teton Therapy, but then was told she had to complete something called “Breaking the Code,” which was based on material from L. Ron Hubbard, and she was encouraged to go to Scientology’s spiritual mecca, the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, for additional training if she wanted to be considered for management. When she refused, she was fired.

Today, Rohrbacher’s attorney Steven Murray announced that Teton Therapy settled on January 2 to avoid a January 6 trial.

Like with Laura DeCrescenzo in her lawsuit against Scientology itself, Rohrbacher’s case had survived an attempt by Teton Therapy to have the lawsuit dismissed with a motion for summary judgment, but after an early December hearing, that motion was dismissed and trial loomed.

“To win summary judgment was significant in that venue,” Murray told us today in a telephone call. He says that Teton Therapy was a well known name, a firm active in a community that was very small. It took a lot of courage for Rohrbacher to take them on.

Murray says he’d read about similar cases here at the Underground Bunker. “As you well know, this issue of the employer utilizing Scientology practices has been litigated in other federal cases,” he says.

He also gave us some specifics about the case that weren’t in the complaint. At one point, he says, Rohrbacher was subjected to an exercise where she had to stare at her supervisor.

Yes, that’s Scientology all right, we told him.

“The other one was bullbaiting, where one employee yells derogatory terms at the others participating in the meeting,” Murray says.

We pointed out to Murray that a number of employees around the country have succeeded in these claims. We wondered why more didn’t sue.

“I think some people are a little embarrassed,” Murray says. “Ms. Rohrbacher was a in a very small town. You don’t want to just destroy yourself. And in this case, Teton Therapy was very active in its town.”

Well, we hope the people in Rohrbacher’s town now have second thoughts about patronizing a business that bullbaits its employees.

Congratulations, Ms. Rohrbacher and Steven Murray.

UPDATE: We just looked up the counsel for Teton Therapy and found something interesting. Its attorney for this case was Tara Nethercott, who is a Wyoming State Senator. And, we read, is on the short list of Republicans to run for Congress this year to replace Liz Cheney, who might run for the US Senate and open up the US House seat, the only one the state has.