Thursday, October 8

Faith in legislative process restored just a tiny bit...but none other than AL FRANKEN (?!)

I just received an email with the news that Senator Al Franken's amendment to the defense appropriations bill for 2010 was passed.

His amendment basically ensures that defense contractors can not force their employees into arbitration or prevent them from seeking justice (via the courts) if their claim includes: sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress as well as Title VII civil
rights claims. If they do not change their employment policies and contracts, they risk losing funding from the US gov't.

Senator Franken's amendment was inspired by the experience of Jamie Lee Jones, "a 19-yr-old employee of defense contractor KBR (formerly a Halliburton subsidiary) stationed in Iraq who was gang raped by her co-workers and imprisoned in a shipping container when she tried to report the crime. Her father and U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.), worked together to
secure her safe return to the United States, but once she was home, she
learned a fine-print clause in her KBR contract banned her from taking her
case to court, instead forcing her into an "arbitration" process that would
be run by KBR itself. Just today, Halliburton filed a petition for a
rehearing en banc in the 5th Circuit Court, which means that Jamie's fight
is far from over."

Although it is incredibly sad that Jamie was effectively re-victimized by KBR's clause, it's really encouraging that Al Franken has stepped in to prevent this from occurring again. I never thought that I'd be so excited by anything at all related to Al Franken...but I am truly encouraged by this positive change for sexual violence victims.