posted on Jul, 10 2010 @ 12:42 PM
I don't suppose this will be very popular, and I'm all for giving BP a real hard time about all this stuff, but we ought to be careful to not be
rediculous in what we find to be rediculous.
A) You don't have to sign it! If you don't want to accept these conditions then don't accept them. In fact, the only way that you would
accept these conditions(assuming that you are a rational person) is if you feel that the benefits of doing the job outweigh the risks/downside of
signing the contract. If you don't think it's worth it, you simply won't do it. You will only sign it if you think it's worth it. What's
wrong with that? People are being allowed to choose. . . is this not a choice that they should be allowed to make? It's clear that those of you
who scream about this stuff probably wouldn't sign the document, but it's not unethical for these companies to put this kind of contract out there
and let people sign it if they choose to.
B) You can't sign away your protection again anything criminal. In the same way that it would still be illegal for someone to kill you, even if
you signed something saying that it would be okay, you cannot sign away your ability to be compensated if you are injured due to criminal negligence,
or any other criminal behavior. Contracts, by law, cannot and do not protect criminal behavior. The entire content of the contract is assumed to
refer to and be applicable only to legal matters (here, not "legal" in the sense of having to do with the law, but "legal" in the sense of being
within the law; as opposed to illegal). What this means is that if anything that is actually illegal is the cause of any injury/harm/loss on the part
of the employees - the people who sign the contract - they would still be able to sue, and the responsible party would still be held accountable in
court for breaking the law. Regulations by organizations like OSHA and the EPA, as well as criminal negligence laws, are all legally binding despite
this contract and would protect people in these cases.
C) Virtually all dangerous jobs or dangerous activities( i.e. recreational sports like skiing or skateboarding or things like tattoos) that fall
under the responsibility of any company require the participants - employees or otherwise - to sign waivers of liability. I'm sure you've all done
it many times. The legal thrust of these documents is that you assume responsibility for participating in this action, as opposed to the company that
you engage in the action with or on behalf of.
An example for a less inflammatory industry: I work in a lab and at times I deal with tritium, which is radioactive. I signed a waiver of liability
for the University that owns and operates the lab. If I get hurt there, I can't sue them, unless they did something negligent or illegal that lead
to my injury. Doesn't that seem reasonable? What's going on in the case in this thread is not substantially different(except there's not anything
radioactive. . .).
I don't think there's anything wrong with these documents. Don't sign them if you don't want to. If you do sign them, the companies still can't
do anything illegal that harms you and be protected by the contract; it offers no protection to the companies and the employees give up no rights if
the matter at hand is actually in violation of any laws.
Also, you must remember that it's very clear that there are many people who just can't wait to sue a company for rediculous stuff. These
contracts protect against those people who might stub their toe on the job then go on disability for back problems for 5 years and demand pain and
suffering compensation. There is a large body of such frivolous suits. It is reasonable for companies to protect themselves against these sorts
of things, especially in cases like this where the public opinion is already so strongly on the side of anyone who challenges any company at all
related to BP or oil.
The non-disclosure/information management stuff is also nothing to get too worked up over. Again, it's all voluntary. Isn't it clear that any
company would try very hard to tightly control and manage information about high profile, controvertial issues (like the oil spill)? It's a
simple proposition really; you can't do this job if you're not willing to play along with information management side of it. You have a choice. Is
this a bad thing? Anyone who is in possession of real evidence of any illegal practices is totally protected by whistleblower laws, and can expose
everything and tear this contract up; that's not what these contracts address. If it's not illegal, you don't have the right to disclose it,
since the company wouldn't have given you access to it if you hadn't agreed in advance to their policies. The freedom of employees of these
companies is not, and should not be, the kind of freedom given to the press or other independant organizations; employes aren't independant of the
company and are given priviledged access because they agree to the policies of the company related to disclosure and information management.
What, from any of this, is bad?
Edited to bold key points. . . I got a little carried away in terms of length so I bolded what I think is the crux of the issue.
[edit on 7/10/10 by OnceReturned]