Employment arbitration agreements are similar in nature to the fine-print consumer arbitration agreements found in anything from credit card to cellphone contracts, which effectively waive consumers' rights to bring claims to court. After the Supreme Court upheld those arbitration agreements in 2011 and in a subsequent case, employers started adding similar language in employment agreements.

    Now, many large employers — from tech giants to retail and restaurant chains — include prohibitions on collective workplace arbitrations. The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimates that about 60 million American workers are covered by such agreements, and as many as 25 million of them cannot arbitrate collectively.

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