[please note the update at the bottom of the post]
So, I work (and have for over 5 years) for a large cable company, which will remain nameless at this point, though, may become self-evident. On all of our work orders now for the past year there is a section that the customer must initial to indicate acknowledgement that they allow the company to resolve disputes through arbitration and give up “various rights including a trial by jury”. Of all the other technicians I’ve talked to thus far, none of them have even read what they are told to have the customers sign.
[Un?]Fortunately I have actually read (and firmly stand by and support) both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and find that this disallowance of adjudication violates the 6th amendment to the US Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights) in which I was under the impression that these are inalienable rights bestowed upon everyone, a mere cable service company hasn’t the right to make you succumb.
[Un?]Fortunately I have, my entire life, been blessed with a ridiculous and crippling spirit to fight what I feel is wrong. Since the implementation of this work order, where the customer is to indicate that they understand this I have always put “#6” preventing them from accidentally indicating any acknowledgement of such policy, and for about a year now, certainly many hundreds of work orders, I have had such practice, and it has finally come to the attention of my boss’s boss. He then copied a work order of one of my jobs and placed a post-it note on it saying “what does #6 mean?” in which he gave to my immediate supervisor. My supervisor asked me what it was about and nearly had an aneurism when I plainly told him of my intent. For some reason (decadence?) he, like most others would have been, was absolutely flabbergasted. “You realize you could lose your job, right?” he asked. And without batting and eyelash I said yes. After much ‘back and forth’ I said that I was willing to put my neck on the chopping block for the sake of people I don’t even know, and apparently this sort of statement was absolutely unheard of, or at least forgotten. And I stand by that and will until this is all played out, no matter where it goes.
I feel as if none of us read the paperwork we are presented in which to sign. In my five years of employment and requiring work order signatures I have had only one person that wanted to read it first. That we just sign what is necessary to get what it is that we desire. Though a dangerous practice, I feel that those that request our signature are equally oblivious to it, elsewise some of them may bring it to our attention. The way I handled it was to not even bring it to their attention, so that they would have no accountability, because they shouldn’t. No one that is just receiving cable services (tv, internet, digital phone) needs to be worrying about whether or not they are giving up ‘inalienable’ rights… it’s CABLE! I feel as if the company takes advantage of people in this way so that if there is a dispute the customer will have no leg to stand on, as they have given up their rights to a trial, leaving the verdict not to a Judge, nor Jury, but to the very company seeking claim.
Anyhow… after much background and digression… I go against the boss’s boss in 3 days time. Standing by what I told my boss and have illustrated here. Sadly having not investigated the legitimacy of whether or not they even have legal right to do this, nor really caring. I had, in the past, emailed what Constitutional Lawyers I could find online, receiving the generic ‘I can’t really say anything’ prevention of accreditation line back. But whether or not, in my, perhaps flawed, view, they, nor anyone else, can make you give up your Constitutional Rights by either will or force, and I will not be a catalyst in which to allow this to happen. I may very well lose my job, and in turn my home, my Family, and possessions via needs of sale or pawn, but I will NEVER lose my dignity, nor the satisfaction of knowing that I did what was right and stood up for the rights of many hundreds of complete strangers, as this is humanity in its rawest form, bestowed unto us all, and can NEVER be taken away, only forfeited.
[update 06/04/11 evening]
Thank you to everyone who has commented on this, especially those with positive things to say, but also to the rest. Not only on this page, but also to the many hundreds on the reddit page.
As it turns out I was ignorantly referencing the 6th amendment, and I was wrong. The 6th amendment is for criminal cases. It’s the 7th amendment of which is for civil cases. I do apologize for my mistake. 90% of the statements against what I’d done were because I got the two confused in memory, and should have double-checked the facts of which amendment first before putting my energy into tying to find out whether they had the right to do that or not.
So, to clear it up: It’s the 7th amendment of which is for civil cases. I wish there were a way to get all of the readers back to see the clarification, and, sadly, now the steam of this article has considerably subsided. Thank you again to all that have expressed an interest, be it positive or negative, in this matter.
The verdict is in: I am not getting fired. I am to not do it again.