Employer Rights Against Worker Involuntary Servitude

28 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2019 Last revised: 7 Jul 2020

Date Written: June 8, 2020


This paper argues that employers can sometimes validly challenge laws as violating the Thirteenth Amendment’s Involuntary Servitude Clause. Judges currently read that clause to bar some kinds of physical or legal coercion against workers who would otherwise quit their current employer. This paper identifies how existing Involuntary Servitude Clause doctrine can be extended to bar legal coercion against prospective employers who would otherwise hire those workers after they quit. If so extended, the Involuntary Servitude Clause sets a minimum level of labor mobility in the United States. To illustrate, the paper discusses how employers can use the Involuntary Servitude Clause to challenge (1) labor mobility restrictions on H-2 foreign guest workers, and (2) non-competition clauses in labor contracts.

Keywords: Thirteenth Amendment, involuntary servitude, labor mobility, immigration

Suggested Citation

Pandya, Sachin S., Employer Rights Against Worker Involuntary Servitude (June 8, 2020). Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3475004 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3475004

Sachin S. Pandya (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

University of Connecticut School of Law
65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
8605705169 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics