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Allstate Admits Training Was 'Unacceptable' : Insurance: Company hired consultant who taught Scientology management principles between 1988 and 1992.

March 23, 1995|From Associated Press

NORTHBROOK, Ill. — Allstate Corp. acknowledged Wednesday that it hired a consultant who taught "unacceptable" Church of Scientology management principles to the insurance company's agents and supervisors between 1988 and 1992.

The company denied allegations some workers were hounded, intimidated and wrongfully fired as a result of the training program.

Scientology is a religious-scientific movement founded in the 1950s by the late author L. Ron Hubbard that recruits new members aggressively. Critics contend it is a cult.

More than 3,500 Allstate workers participated in seminars that taught them to disregard ethics in the quest for greater productivity, the Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story Tuesday.

That component of the training "was wholly unacceptable and inconsistent with our standards," Allstate spokesman Al Orendorff said.

"We dropped the ball," he said. "We should have managed that part of it better and didn't."

Scientology, based in Los Angeles, said the Journal story was the result of a "controversy being created by what appears to be a few disgruntled employees of a huge corporation."

Scientology said the Hubbard management technology is a proven method for clarifying business goals and increasing efficiency and productivity that is used in more than 40 countries.

More than two dozen agents have filed lawsuits or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints alleging fraud, harassment or discrimination by Allstate, often in connection with wrongful-discharge claims, the Journal reported.

Orendorff denied the allegations. The company told the Journal the agents' claims reflect their failure to prosper under the more entrepreneurial system Allstate set up in the mid-1980s.

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