Standing up to fall down
The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of thoughts, discussions, and emotions, culminating in another life changing event. It's just over two years since my last such event and I'm hoping that I don't also blunder this one. Given how draining times like this are, I'm glad they are infrequent.
My fortune cookie from last night offered hope in these simple words: You will come to realizations in you [sic] life that change you forever.
Two weeks ago on Valentine's Day I went into work excited about the first of many transition meetings discussing what will happen to dbConnect (part of Towers Perrin Administration Solutions) when it gets merged into a new (still unnamed) joint venture with EDS. Part of this process will include being rebadged as an EDS employee. I came away from the Town Hall meeting with a positive outlook and a pile of transition paperwork.
My dilemma started when I read the EDS Employment Argeement. It includes a random drug testing clause. This was the first time I'd ever seen such a requirement. I wasn't quite sure how to react to it. I knew such a policy wouldn't affect my employment, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. In that past I've taken issue with non-competition agreements, but the fact that they are time limited and have a built in appeal/approval process makes them palatable. The drug testing clause struck a different, deeper cord.
As coincidence would have it, my friends had discussed employer mandated drug testing the previous week. No clear opinion emerged but the general consensus was that such a policy was unreasonable. As I thought about it, I agreed. I agreed to such an extent that I decided to take a stand. I first met with my boss to let him know that in my one-on-one transition meeting I was going to raise the issue.
As a result, my one-on-one meeting got rescheduled for that afternoon. I got to speak with one of the senior EDS leaders that was visiting the office. We had a great discussion about impressions of the joint venture and what each company would add to the deal. Eventually the conversation turned to the employment agreement. The initial reaction didn't look good. This wasn't a clause that could be easily removed or reworked. I left the meeting knowing that my request would be forwarded to EDS HR and legal.
The following Tuesday I got a call saying that there was no way to exclude the random drug testing clause. Both my boss and my EDS contact tried their best to convince me to reconsider. I didn't. I held out hope that maybe some compromise could be met. Unfortunately, Friday rolled around and there was no good news. Instead the talk turned to what the next steps were.
As a result of my refusing to sign the employment agreement, I will be terminated from Towers Perrin on Mar 31st. It has been hard to hold my ground in light of an uncertain financial future, but I can only hope that my stance will help, in some way, to eliminate drug policies that violate civil liberties.
I greatly appreciate everyone that took the time to listen to me and share their thoughts on this subject.