Jamie Leigh Jones, the Halliburton/KBR employee who reported being gang-raped by her co-workers, only to then be held hostage by her employer, has been denied anything even resembling justice ever since because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations could only be addressed by private arbitration. That absurd (and implicitly rape-minimizing) contractual agreement was recently rendered irrelevant to her case, helping clear what will still likely be a very long path to justice.
As a result of Jones' case, Senator Al Franken proposed
an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court." Speaking on the Senate floor yesterday, Franken said:Jones, who appeared with Franken after the vote, said: "It means the world to me. It means that every tear shed to go public and repeat my story over and over again to make a difference for other women was worth it." Blub.
The constitution gives everybody the right to due process of law … And today, defense contractors are using fine print in their contracts do deny women like Jamie Leigh Jones their day in court. … The victims of rape and discrimination deserve their day in court [and] Congress plainly has the constitutional power to make that happen....On the Senate floor, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) spoke against the amendment, calling it "a political attack directed at Halliburton." Franken responded, "This amendment does not single out a single contractor. This amendment would defund any contractor that refuses to give a victim of rape their day in court."
In the end, Franken won the debate. His amendment passed by a 68-30 vote.
[H/Ts to Shakers Constant Comment and Ivyceltress.]