Jehovah's loses comp case

by RR 8 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • RR
    Jehovah's loses comp case

    Church may be forced to pay millions


    A 46-year-old woman who devoted her life to the Jehovah's Witnesses said she was forced to move from their Brooklyn compound after she was seriously injured while serving the church.

    But a judge's ruling this week that she is entitled to worker's compensation payments could end up costing the church millions of dollars.

    Brenda Upton and her husband, Michael, took a vow of poverty and moved to the Witnesses' Brooklyn headquarters in 1998 to work as chiropractors for other church members.

    She injured her spine while running to catch a bus at an upstate church compound later that year.

    "They take wonderful care of you up to a point, and then you're on your own," Upton said. "That's why we wound up going to court."

    She said she suffered debilitating nerve injuries that have left her barely able to carry a laundry basket. The church took care of her medical care until 2001, when she and her husband were asked to leave and were given a $79,000 stipend.

    But Workers' Compensation Law Judge Stephen Goldstein ruled Wednesday that Upton is entitled to $400 a week in workers' compensation payments.

    "I'm finding they were not religious volunteers," Goldstein said. "They were engaged, particularly Dr. Brenda Upton, in a number of work-like activities."

    The Witnesses vowed to appeal the ruling, saying Upton and the other 5,800 Witnesses who live and work in the church's New York operations are volunteers, not employees.

    But if the decision stands, the Witnesses - and other religious organizations - could potentially face millions of dollars in workers' compensation insurance premiums and payments, said church lawyer John Miller.

    "It'll pretty much put religious orders out of business," Miller said. "It would certainly impact whether we would ever want to continue operations" in New York.

    The church owns about 40 properties in downtown Brooklyn and has plans to build a huge new structure on a vacant lot.

    Miller would not speculate how the workers' compensation case would affect those plans.

    "We don't have a spiritual conflict," said Upton, who has moved with her husband to Washington State.

    "Our problem all along has been medical-legal. We are still active Jehovah's Witnesses."

  • TresHappy

    Good for her! Why didn't they just help her when she was injured?

  • skyman

    second post about this. I love that they lost.

  • sf

    Hello RR,

    Thanks. There is a five-page thread going on this too if you want to jump on over and check it out. It's posted by DannyH.


  • LittleToe

    Hi RR. Long time no hear. I hope all is well with ya

    The thread being referred to is:

    It never harms to "advertise, advertise, advertise", though

  • TresHappy

    Too bad she's still an active JW...

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie

    Yup! I wrote the newspaper an email and, referring them to Danny Hazard's thread and this JWD forum for validating info, I also hi-lighted the woman's reference to their being active jdubs and told the editor, et al, that the WTS would wait until just AFTER they lost their appeal (or on the outside chance they won) and THEN they would dF them (cut them off) from all contact with other active jdubs, including fam members.


  • TresHappy

    I bet they D/F her at any moment...

  • Frannie Banannie
    Frannie Banannie
    I bet they D/F her at any moment...

    That would definitely damage their chances for appeal, Tres, no matter how badly they wish to take them both out and stone them to death.


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