Saturday, 3 October 2009

Landmark Education's "Use" of Volunteers

Landmark is keen on using "volunteers". I put this in quotes because Landmark has been found in violation of minimum wage laws over the way it dragoons its participants into working for it.

In 2006 the US Department of Labor in Dallas, Texas, found minimum wage violations. The department reported:

The assistants hour 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. Attendees are influenced to assist (volunteer) at the classes and told they can gain more knowledge without paying any money to attend seminars that they volunteer at [Exemption 5 to Freedom of Information Act: Internal forms and memoranda]

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.
By its own admission Landmark Education generates $89 million a year in revenues and has a small number of actual paid employees. Plus it has to pay license fees to Werner Erhard (Jack Rosenberg, brother of Harry, the CEO) for the so-called "technology".

France has also complained about the use of unpaid volunteers for onerous duties.

I would be curious to know what Landmark's revenue stream is like in the recession. It is either very down or has risen dramatically as people look for escape routes.

Anyone know?

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