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Let's say we are in California and I have a dispute with my employer. My employer has, or so I believe that it has, breached our employment contract and caused me damages. I then talk to my employer about possible remedies, or possible legal remedies through litigation if none provided.

Now, the employer decides that this rebellion is not to be tolerated and demands that the employee enter a new contract that specifically prohibit the employee from seeking such remedies, either directly or otherwise, regarding said dispute. If the employee does not sign the contract, then he or she will not be continually employed.

I understand that "at-will" employment can be terminated for virtually any reason except in the case of protected classes, activities, etc.

  • Is it within the company's right to make such request, such that further and continued employment is contingent on the employee not bring about litigation against them?
  • If it is illegal for the company to ask such a thing, what kind of law covers this? Or rather what do people call this? My search for employer retaliation and protected activities mostly return with results about EEOC, and I do not know which direction I should go search for.
  • If the employee leaves the company because he or she do not want to sign the paper that "you will not ask for remedies...", is this wrongful termination?
  • Such clauses would be unenforceable, and being forced to sign such a contract or face termination is likely to be itself a legal issue for the company. What has your lawyer told you to do? – Nij Feb 18 '18 at 9:07
  • @Nij I do not have a lawyer, yet. I have little relevant knowledge about the situation to know if there is any merit at all and whether "the company is fully within their right, which is also why your search in Google turned up nothing" kind of scenario might be true. Hence the questions for a general direction of what I should be looking for. – user15664 Feb 18 '18 at 14:32
  • Well, your employer has already shown what they think of you. If you don't believe the breach was worth legal remedy, you shouldn't have said anything in the first place. But you do, and you did, so the next step is getting a lawyer to make those legal remedies happen. – Nij Feb 18 '18 at 17:56
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Some remedies are protected and some are not.

A contract that provides that employment disputes are to be resolved in arbitration rather than in court, and waiving a right to bring a class action, would be binding on the employee, but probably not on the EEOC.

Similarly, a jury trial waiver might very well be enforceable.

But, a contract that provides that the employee shall have no remedy whatsoever for, for example, discriminatory failure to promote by an employer, is probably void as contrary to public policy.

The validity of the waiver would be evaluated on a provision by provision basis.

In Colorado, but not in most states, it is actually a crime to try to cause an employee to enter into an invalid non-competition clause, although that offense is rarely prosecuted.

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