It is the first time a dollar-figure has emerged quantifying the amount Gloriavale could owe the plaintiffs in two landmark Employment Court cases, as they seek payment for lost wages, breach of minimum entitlements, compensation and penalties.
The court’s chief judge Christina Inglis found the men and women were employees, rather than community volunteers, working in factories and on farms or Gloriavale’s domestic teams.
Last July Inglis found Serenity Pilgrim, Anna Courage, Rose Standtrue, Crystal Loyal, Pearl Valor and Virginia Courage worked extremely hard under punishing conditions for years on end preparing food, cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry for Gloriavale’s 600 members.
She said the women were primed as girls to to work on the teams and taught from birth to submit to male leadership in all aspects of their lives.
In an earlier 2022 ruling, Inglis found Hosea Courage, Daniel Pilgrim and Levi Courage were employees from the age of six until they left Gloriavale, working long hours doing strenuous, difficult and sometimes dangerous work when they were still legally required to be at school.
Inglis ruled the women’s employer was Gloriavale’s Overseeing Shepherd in a reserved decision released last month, meaning former employees could seek back pay and compensation from the community’s current leader Howard Temple.
The identity of the men’s employer is yet to be determined.
Although the claims to entitlements must first be filed with the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), they could be heard by the court. The parties would likely be directed to mediation.
An ERA spokesperson said the authority could not comment on specific cases.