back to article Restaurant hired 'priest' to extract workplace confessions from staff

A California restaurant chain has been fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $140,000 in unpaid wages for labor violations. As part of its effort to keep workers from complaining about withheld pay, the business allegedly carried out employee monitoring as a form of intimidation. But rather than using electronic surveillance, the …

  1. CrackedNoggin Bronze badge

    Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

    Gathering of self-incriminating confessions is another job that AI will eliminate.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

      If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing, why are priests, confessions and attendant mumbo-jumbo a thing in the first place? Shirley this "god" thing already knows all that ... and in fact already knew everything about one's life, including religious affiliation (if any), sins (let he who has never ...), penance (if any), reconciliation (if any) at the moment it created the Universe?

      1. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

        God does indeed have your full details, written down in the big book that St Peter can be seen reading from in all those cartoons; you know the ones, Peter asks "Name?" then looks to see if it is time to use the trapdoor lever or not.

        The trouble is, God is really terrible with names, although He can remember a face[1]. So it is important to go to confessional, then He can look down, get a really good gander at you and put a face to all those peccadilloes He'd been hearing about[2]. Oh, and if you can make your sins unique, or at least interesting, that'll help a lot.

        [1] And don't suggest adding ID engravings to the book, He'll just sulk. Something about never having got the hang of writing because it came after His Big Six Day Bash and the book is just so fiddly: He only managed to get four words to fit on an entire wall!

        [2] Angels just love to gossip about goings on in Midgard[3], if only to give their four faces something to do

        [3] Ah, yes, there was something else. He has got Himself some ravens and now self-identifies as Wednesday, so "now everything can be done mid-week and he finally gets a peaceful weekend". Raphael says there is nothing to worry about, but Michael is looking a bit strained these days.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

          >God is really terrible with names

          Given how tetchy he gets when anybody tries to use his own that's understandable

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

            All I said was "That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

          god just seems to have a really terrible memory in general. After genociding virtually everything on the planet, he felt a bit sorry about it. He promised Noah that he wouldn't do it again. However, to remind himself that he shouldn't, he needed to create rainbows as an aide-memoir. Seems he might forget and murder everything again without it.

          Apparently, refraction didn't exist before then.

          Genesis 9:

          "I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth."

          And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:

          I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

          Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,

          I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

          Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Genesis 9

            Hmm. A serial mass killer making a 'covenant' after the fact, so as to whitewash the crime.

            Plus, remember people, it is claimed that "God' created man in his own image.

            So what does all this say about God?

            That it takes grooming, indoctrination and good-old fashioned brainwashing to not question it all.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

            >Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

            I always wondered about ducks.

            Sharks might have been mildly discomfited by the seas suddenly turning to fresh water with all the rain, but ducks presumably laughed it off.

            So all the anti-antediluvian evil ducks all survived the vengeance of JHVH

            Today's Canada geese are the descendants of these evil ducks

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

              Never mind the ducks ... Have you ever noticed how EVIL so-called "seagulls" are?

              After 40 days and 40 nights, they roasted the geese and they were good.

              1. 43300 Silver badge

                Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

                White geese (more effective than many guard dogs), and chip-stealing herring gulls are clearly the direct descendants of the evil ducks!

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

        Martin Luther tried to shortcut that loop in 1517.

        Turns out, it doesn't work for everyone.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

        "If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing, why are priests, confessions and attendant mumbo-jumbo a thing in the first place? "

        *In principle* the point of confession isn't to let God know about your sins as he/she/it already knows. The point is for the "sinner" to admit their "wrongs", first to themselves and then to others. While a lot of the surrounding details around confession and penance is indeed mumbo-jumbo, there is actually a strong psychological insight to the process, which at it's core is very similar to modern therapy sessions.

      4. Jedit Silver badge
        Headmaster

        "If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing..."

        That's literally the basis of Protestantism.

        The basic idea, however, is that God knows everything that you've done, but will only forgive you for the things you repent for. And you can't repent for a sin unless you're willing to admit that it was a sin. A

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing..."

          But presumably also knows in advance if you are going to repent

          1. jmch Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: "If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing..."

            And if god always knew what you were going to do anyway, does that imply there is no free will?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: "If this "god" thing is so all powerful and all knowing..."

              And if that is the case (no free will, I mean), what's the point? Might as well quit.

    2. Turbo Beholder

      Re: Another job at risk - why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

      > why confess to a priest when you can confess to God directly?

      Because they are Catholics. Being from Mexico and further. Duh.

      If they were natives of the Freudlands, the boss would just hire a doctor-totally-not-a-repainted-confessor quack as is customary, so the faithful servants of totally-not-Nu-Vatican would not object. But now the similarities became obvious and the whole thing just got awkward.

  2. jake Silver badge

    WOW!

    A whole $4,000 for each of the 35 probably former employees!

    That should last a whole two months here in California ... assuming the workers share a dozen or so hovels and don't use electricity, don't eat, and don't operate personal motor vehicles.

    1. fxkeh

      Re: WOW!

      And don't forget the massive $5,000 fine for the business - however will they avoid bankruptcy!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

    Glad they were treated to the use of our courts and such, and equally glad their scumbag employer was punished (despite it being a slap on the wrist) and all that, but, erm, these undocumented folks will be deported once they receive their prizes, right? I know people get bent out of shape about this stuff, but is anybody going to at least *pretend* immigrants should at least *try* to play by the rules before they set down roots in a foreign country not their own?

    *I* have to fill out paperwork just to visit another country for a week-long vacation. Just sayin'...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

      To quote TFA: "Some of the workers, a court transcript suggests, were fearful of their immigration status because they had been brought over from Mexico illegally."

      The REAL question becomes "Who brought those workers over from Mexico illegally? Are they going to be prosecuted for trafficking & etc.?"

      1. Atomic Duetto

        Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

        It’s not the REAL question.. it’s just another question.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

          And yet another one is, if some of the employees are illegals, what is happening to the employer re hiring "undocumented aliens"? Surely even in the land of the free, an employer has know who is working for him/her. Or do employers to pay anything to local/state/federal government? Not have to notify anyone in officialdom of their employees?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

      Don't worry about that, worry about your indictment!

    3. veti Silver badge

      Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

      Well, maybe. The Dept of Labor can't and won't pass their details on to the DHS, but there's nothing stopping the DHS from making its own enquiries.

      Nobody was "treated to the use of your courts", though. This case was between two US entities, the Department of Labour and a restaurant owner.

      If you really want to put a stopper in illegal immigration, try lobbying for harsh punishments for people who employ illegal immigrants. Fines of the order of hundreds of thousands per person employed without proper documentation, that sort of thing. And where "employment" is very loosely defined, to cover all kinds of casual and day work as well as contracting, or even work without pay. Those are the scumbags who are profiting from lawbreaking, and yet they walk away scot free without even a slap on the wrist, unless they try to pull other bullshit like in this case.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

        Some kind of expanded, legal form of immigration or guest worker status would probably be a good idea, too, if you want jobs like this to stay filled. Florida just enacted harsher punishments for illegal immigrants and now they have no one to harvest their crops.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

          "Florida just enacted harsher punishments for illegal immigrants and now they have no one to harvest their crops."

          That sounds just like one of the unintended consequences of Brexit. If you make harder and/or more expensive to import temporary workes for low skilled jobs, they won't come.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So ... anybody gonna do anything post-litigation about the "undocumented status" thing?

      "Glad they were treated to the use of our courts"

      Since they were working in the US, their work was paying for those courts.

      "*I* have to fill out paperwork just to visit another country for a week-long vacation."

      Stop visiting Russia so often then, maybe? There are quite a lot of countries in the world waiving tourism visas for US passports holders. No, a small form to fill in the plane doesn't count as "paperwork".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple folk abused

    By religion.

    Just how it prefers things.

    1. Turbo Beholder

      Re: Simple folk abused

      (sagely nodding) now, if they would convert to Freudism, such things would never happen!

    2. teebie

      Re: Simple folk abused

      "Simple folk abused By religion."

      Simple folks abused by business *using* religion in this case, surely? This was done to benefit the employer, not the church.

  5. Ken G Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Vague

    I can't tell from the article if it was a real priest breaking the seal of the confessional or some guy who put on a dogcollar to con people.

    "a confessor who directly violates the seal of the confessional," that is: explicitly connects a sin to a penitent, "incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Vague

      I seriously doubt that anybody involved gives a shit about Catholic Canon Law.

      As for your implied iconic question, this is Bootnotes, which exists to cover journalistic sins.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Vague

      I wondered that too, and went to the lengths of following the link and reading the court transcript, but it doesn't really answer the point. Because it's a transcript, it doesn't know whether the speaker was putting air quotes around "priest".

      But I seriously doubt if a real priest would get involved in this sort of thing, even in California. Even if you can find a sufficiently unscrupulous priest, you'd have to pay them an absolute fortune to run such a crazy risk with their livelihood.

      1. Ken G Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Vague

        not to mention their afterlivelihood.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Happy

    Priest For Hire

    I generally think of Bishops of the American wing of the Roman Catholic Church as being super-patriotic and generally fairly right-wing ( just like, say, regulars of the Mormon Church ), willing to support any loony war their political masters desire ( although to be fair there is a socially aware group of individual priests who support People's Struggles --- with mostly the same success as any other left protest groups in the US. )

    Nonetheless, the Catholic hierarchy does like its discipline, so I would expect this priest's Bishop to be extremely interested in his performing sacred duties for private entities for love or money.

    Father X may well find redemption herding goats in a remote Mexican monastery for a couple of years.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Priest For Hire

      I suspect that Father X is a drinking buddy (frat brother, whatever) of the owner, and not affiliated with any church.

      1. MaddMatt

        Re: Priest For Hire

        In Other Words:

        "He's making it up"

        Or his own church

        "Splitters"

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like