The company I work for was bought by a new company. This new company is asking us to sign Pre-Dispute Agreements as a condition of employment. The agreement states I am signing it "voluntarily and knowingly", but if the only other option I have to signing it and giving up my rights is leaving my job, is that really "volulntarily"? Can I choose not to sign the agreement but keep my job?
You can try but it is voluntary that you don't have to sign it and work there. Depending on the type of agreement, they do not have to continue employing you if you do not sign.
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Employment / Labor Attorney
In order to be valid under CA law a pre-dispute arbitration agreement for an employee must be voluntarily and provide the employee the option to opt out without being retaliated against. So technically even if you sign the agreement it may be found unenforceable by a Court. The agreement should have provided you a mechanism to opt out while still remaining employed.
I agree with the other two attorneys and suggest that you read over this agreement carefully as it likely may contain the answer you seek. Another option is to hire an attorney to review the agreement and negotiate different terms that are mutually acceptable. Or simply inquire with HR as to what your options are.
This is my opinion and should not be construed as legal advise for your specific case as there are many more facts which you have not provided.