- Note: Please see Official Landmark web site for the positions of the company Landmark Worldwide on their organization and its history.
Landmark Forum is a course delivered by Landmark Worldwide, formerly known as Landmark Education.
Werner Erhard (1935-) developed the Erhard Seminars Training aka EST aka EST Training in 1971. In 1981 he started Werner Erhard and Associates which delivered the course known as "The Forum". In 1991 Werner Erhard sold the intellectual property from Werner Erhard and Associates to a group of his employees which included his brother Harry Rosenberg. Those people then formed the company Landmark Education and used material from Werner Erhard's course "The Forum" to create their course "Landmark Forum". Landmark Education is run by Erhard's brother Harry Rosenberg as CEO. His sister Joan Rosenberg sits on the Board of Directors of Landmark Education. Werner Erhard's lawyer Art Schreiber, serves as general counsel of Landmark Education. Terry Giles, Chairman of the Board of Landmark Education, is another individual who has served as personal lawyer to Werner Erhard.
Use of unpaid labor
Landmark Education makes use of unpaid labor which it refers to as volunteers, or "Assistants". These volunteers are instructed by Landmark that they receive benefit from the act of volunteering itself.
In June 2004 labor inspectors from the French government determined that volunteers were exploited and ruled that Landmark had unreported workers. A month later employees came to the Landmark building in France to find the doors locked and they moved operations and recruitment to a location in London.
In the most recent investigation in Texas in 2006, the report from the U.S. Department of Labor determined that:
"Minimum wage violation found. Volunteers (Assistants) are not paid any wages for hours worked while performing the major duties of the firm. The assistants set up rooms, call registrants, collect fees, keep stats of classroom data/participants, file, they also are answering phones, training and leading seminars.
The assistants hours are delegated by an employee of the firm, the work is directed and managed by the site manager, the duties performed are vital to the employer’s business. The assistants are not given credit for the hours worked which vary from 10 per week to 60 and up. The assistants are keeping records of attendees, stats on classroom attendance, assisting the instructor with the classes, and also an integral part of the seminars. The employer could not conduct the seminars at the level it has been doing without the enormous amount of assistants (20-40) per seminar. The assistants perform primary functions of the employer such as finance conversations with potential attendees, purchasing, and facility management.
A heavy emphasis is put on volunteering at the initial Landmark Forum attended by newcomers."
The U.S. Department of Labor pointed out, "By volunteering at these seminars and in the business office the assistants are convinced that they are acquiring skills and knowledge required to improve their social and mental skills that they can use in their full-time employment and personal lives. The assistants displace regular employees that would have to be hired. The employer could not operate with the 2-3 full-time employees per site."
In a conference with Landmark, the U.S. Department of Labor noted Landmark's position, "The firm denies that the assistants/volunteers are employees. Interviews reveal that the employees are taking payments, registering clients, billing, training, recruiting, setting up locations, cleaning, and other duties that would have to be performed by staff if the assistants did not perform them."
Landmark Education litigation
Landmark Education has a history of litigation both as a plaintiff against those who have criticized the company, and defendant against those who have accused that there are various problems caused by the trainings.
According to the Landmark Education litigation archive, "In an effort to suppress this unfavorable dialogue about the company, Landmark, like Erhard before it, has repeatedly used litigation and threats of litigation as an improper tool to silence its vocal public critics."
Landmark Education CEO Harry Rosenberg has instead referred to these tactics as "altering the public conversation" about their company: "In the United States, we have altered the public conversation about our work and our enterprise. For example, it is no longer possible for informed people or publications in the United States to pin pejorative labels on us."
The Forum prior to Landmark and subsequently Landmark Forum has been classed by academics and scholars particularly within the field of psychology as a form of large-group awareness training. This subpage will analyze such usage of this term in sources referring to this organization.
Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training
- More info: Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training
Psychologists Jeffrey D. Fisher, Roxane Cohen Silver, Jack M. Chinsky, Barry Goff, and Yechiel Klar studied The Forum; and they published their results in the book, Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training. The research reported by the psychologists garnered the American Psychological Association's "National Psychological Consultants to Management Award", in 1989.
Fisher and co-authors concluded that attending The Forum had minimal lasting effects, positive or negative, on participants' self-perception. They briefly discussed potential negative and positive effects of attending The Forum. The psychologists did not find any negative effects on the test subjects that participated in their study. In an analysis of the possible positive outcomes, they found that subjects "became more internally oriented". A significant small increase in short term perception by individuals that they maintained control over their lives was observed – this is referred to in psychology as internal locus of control.
The researchers found that subjects had some minor short-term positive effects perceived from the Large Group Awareness Training, but no noticeable longer term effects, stating: "In fact, with the exception of the short-term multivariate results for Perceived Control, there was no appreciable effect on any dimension which could reflect positive change." After the participants returned for the 18-month follow-up analysis, the results revealed that the small increase in perception of control by the individuals had disappeared.
Sourced quotations at above subpage.
- Steven Pressman (1993). Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exhile. St. Martin's Press. pp. 66, 183, 253–254. ISBN 0-312-09296-2.
- Xeni Jardin (August 31, 2009). "Wikileaks re-publishes 60 Minutes piece on est/Landmark cult leader Werner Erhard". Boing Boing.
I am a lawyer and have represented Werner Erhard since 1990...
- Special Trial Judge Robert N. Armen, Jr. (August 26, 1994). "Memorandum Opinion". Erhard v. C.I.R. No. 25656-93. U.S.Tax Ct (1994). United States Tax Court.
By letter dated November 1, 1991, Arthur Schreiber submitted a revised power of attorney to Revenue Agent Keung for the purpose of clarifying that the power of attorney previously submitted to the Internal Revenue Service on October 24, 1991, covered both Werner Erhard and petitioner.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (November 8, 2006). "Background and Facts". Draft Motion to Quash Landmark Subpoena.
The declaration accompanying the subpoena, signed by Landmark’s General Counsel Art Schreiber, alleges only that the videos include ““portions” of its allegedly “copyrighted and proprietary” course entitled “The Landmark Forum;” there is no reference in the Declaration to any registered copyright.
- Michelle Tennant Nicholson; Wasabi Publicity, Inc.; (for Landmark Education) (May 6, 2010). "New York Times: Landmark Education Chairman Facilitates Peace for King Family". Press Release. PR Newswire.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Dewan, Shaila (May 3, 2010). "Hired to Bring Order, Kings' Adviser Brings Peace". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
Terry M. Giles ... the self-improvement techniques of EST. (Werner Erhard, the creator of EST, is a client.)
- Steve Jackson (April 24, 1996). "When it comes to Landmark Education Corporation, There's no meeting of the Minds". Westword.
- Charlotte Faltermayer (March 16, 1998). "The Best Of Est? - Werner Erhard's legacy lives on in a kinder, gentler and lucrative version of his self-help seminars". Time Magazine.
- United States Department of Labor (June 26, 2006). "WHISARD Compliance Action Report". U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division.
- Marie Lemonnier (May 19, 2005). "With the gurus wearing neckties - 395 euros for three days". Le Nouvel Observateur.
- United States Department of Labor (December 8, 2004). "WHISARD ID: 1378023 BIN: 27-0033035". U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division.
- United States Department of Labor (May 4, 1996). "Compliance Action Report". U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division.
- Peter L. Skolnik and Michael A. Norwick; Lowenstein Sandler PC (February 2006). "Introduction to the Landmark Education litigation archive". Roseland NJ: Cult Education Institute.
- Traci Hukill (July 9, 1998). "The est of Friends: Werner Erhard's protégés and siblings carry the torch for a '90s incarnation of the '70s 'training' that some of us just didn't get". Metro News. San Francisco, California.
- Gastil, John (2009). The Group in Society. Sage Publications, Inc. pp. 228–229. ISBN 1-4129-2468-5.
- Fisher, Jeffrey D.; Cohen Silver, Roxane; Chinsky, Jack M.; Goff, Barry; Klar, Yechiel (1990). Evaluating a Large Group Awareness Training. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. vii, 1–17, 19–33, 51, 56, 63–64, 80. ISBN 0387973206.
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