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I recently interviewed at a fairly large company for a position I was interested in. The recruiter said that I "far and away bested" the other candidates, and that they were really interested in taking me on.

However, as I was looking through the hiring paperwork, I noticed an arbitration agreement in the pile of papers. Basically, if I have any disagreement about any aspect about my employment that I would normally take to court, I would have to take it to arbitration instead, and I cannot join a class action.

As I said, both the company and I are interested in my taking the job. However, I refuse to work for any employer that requires me to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.

How can I let the company know that I'm not interested in working for them if they require me to sign an arbitration agreement (i.e. that the arbitration agreement is the only roadblock to my accepting the job), and possibly negotiate with them to have it removed?

  • Id kindly suggest updating this post with the end result, (if you could have the clause removed or not) – morbo Jun 6 at 12:45
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    Purely out of curiosity, why is the arbitration clause such a big deal to you? – Jim Clay Jun 6 at 14:30
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I refuse to work for any employer that requires me to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.

How can I let the company know that I'm not interested in working for them if they require me to sign an arbitration agreement

You simply need to tell them "I refuse to work for any employer that requires me to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment" and mean it.

If everything else in their offer is acceptable, you might even try "I'm really excited by what I've heard and I'd really like to work at this company. I like everything about this offer except one item - the arbitration agreement. If we could get that requirement removed, I'd accept the offer today."

Some companies will negotiate on some aspects of hiring requirements for desirable candidates. Some will not.

Once you make your position clear, you'll quickly find out one way or the other. And if your feelings are as strong as you have expressed here, finding out quickly should be your goal so that you can either accept the revised arbitration-free offer, or move on to a different job.

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    How can I negotiate with them to have it removed? That was also part of my question. – gparyani Jun 4 at 22:03
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    I would note that using that exact phrasing wouldn't be ideal as it comes across as fairly hostile. You can bring the same firm message with softer language like "It's my policy not to sign arbitration agreements." or some variation thereof. – Lilienthal Jun 5 at 7:34
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    or "I'm happy with most of the contract, but have one or two sticking points before signing - specifically the arbitration section. I'm not sure I can sign the contract while that is in there" – Smock Jun 5 at 11:57
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    @gparyani Are you suggesting that you would be willing to make concessions in other parts of the contract in exchange for the forced arbitration clause being removed? That's the only possible negotiation I can think of in this context. – Upper_Case Jun 5 at 16:11
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    @gparyani So then I don't understand what kind of negotiation you're expecting-- "I won't work for an employer that makes me sign a forced arbitration clause, so if you want me to work here that need to be removed." seems like the only possible option. – Upper_Case Jun 6 at 13:26
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This would be the same as any other condition of employment that you want to negotiate on. Make a counter offer and be up front if a condition is legitimately a deal breaker for you.

I reviewed the offer and think we are close to an agreement. $X per year is more in line with my experience; I need Y days of vacation per year to maintain what I currently have; there are a couple of deal breakers for me, please remove the arbitration clause and replace the 6 months notice of resignation clause with 2 months. Please amend your offer on these four points and I will be able to sign off on it immediately.

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    Not just "amend", but be specific: stipulate the values you will accept to sign. Also, make sure you list all your conditions the first time. – bishop Jun 5 at 0:41
  • @bishop clarified that point – Myles Jun 5 at 17:00
  • Perfect. This is how it should be done. – bishop Jun 5 at 17:14
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One way I know of to have clauses you cannot agree with removed from a contract is to actually strike them out and to then send your corrected version of the contract draft back to the other party.

If the arbitration agreement is a seperate document, you can simply tell the other party: "I'm sorry, but I will not agree to this. Apart from that I'd gladly sign the rest of our agreement/contract."

Politely but firmly clarifying the non-negotiable conditions under which you are willing to sign an agreement or contract is always the best negotiating tactic in my experience.

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If you want to work for this large company you are going to have to accept this kind of agreement. There is no way a large company is going to drop this for a single employee. Only way I would see this happening is if they are a small startup and cannot go forward without you, doesn't sound like the case here.

And if every other employee is under this kind of agreement, even if you were able to get them to drop it for you, it won't help you much because there will not be a class action suit because there won't be a class to join. So you would be on your own and you wouldn't stand a chance in court against their lawyers unless you already have pretty deep pockets.

You have to ask yourself how much you want this job. Fundamentally you are just not that special to warrant such a change at a large company.

  • @JoeStrazzere, updated my comment. And how do you know you didn't sign one. Last one I saw was buried in pages and pages of legal mumbo jumbo. – Bill Leeper Jun 5 at 22:26
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    Backing up Joe's comment and above answer here. I agree with him %100 but wanted to add, if you are not confident in reading and understanding a contract, hire an attorney for a couple of hours to review it and advise you. The piece of mind is always worth the fee and I feel like I am taken more seriously in negotiations when I say "My attorney wont let me sign this without X clause removed" – Smitty Jun 6 at 16:19

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