Two new lawsuits allege that the Church of Scientology treats its most loyal followers as slave labor, making 5,000 members of the so-called Sea Organization work 100-hour weeks for mere pennies. Hundreds of followers of L. Ron Hubbard live on a 500-acre campus creating promotional materials espousing the church’s teachings—but the church says they’re similar to monks and exempt from traditional wage requirements. In one suit, a couple is seeking $1 million in back pay and overtime. One scholar says a victory could significantly undermine Scientology’s structure, but experts dismiss the likelihood of a win in the courts. Said the couple’s attorney, “These folks are working for a year or two or three in a row on an hour or two of sleep a night. They're zombies. If people had some money in their pockets or a good night's sleep, they probably wouldn't stick around."
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