It isn't just tech firms that are getting pressure from employees. When Harvard law students threatened to boycott law firm Kirkland and Ellis because of mandatory arbitration agreements, the firm quickly did a 180.
Now students at other law schools are joining the fight, and have vowed not to work for law firms that require arbitration of employment law claims. The student statement includes these strong statements against employee arbitration agreements:
I think it's about time employees push back. Still, I have to wonder how many of these law students will end up going into management-side law practice and forcing employees of their clients to arbitrate, despite their clear knowledge that such agreements are about oppressing workers.
Mandatory arbitration agreements prevent employees from seeking justice in court and limit the enforcement of substantive employment rights. Mandatory arbitration forces employees to submit any dispute with their employer to binding, private, and often confidential arbitration—a process which advantages sophisticated, repeat players at the expense of individual claimants.
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Finally, we recognize that mandatory arbitration is a policy that negatively impacts all workers, legal and non-legal, and not merely associates and summer associates. We are committed to including questions about employment practices for all employees in future surveys.
Now that employees have demonstrated that resistance to arbitration agreements is not futile, I hope unions and other employee groups will take up this fight. And I hope (but seriously doubt) that this new generation of lawyers might actually push their clients to drop forced arbitration of employees.