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Franken Statement On Passage Of Jamie Leigh Jones Amendment

Franken Initiative Gives Assault Victims their Day in Court

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill, which contained a provision introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) that would ban government funding of defense contractors who forced employees to mandatory binding arbitration in the case of rape, assault, wrongful imprisonment, harassment, and discrimination.
 
The legislation was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20-yr-old employee of defense contractor KBR 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 her local congressman 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. She has been pursuing the matter in court for the last four years. KBR is currently contesting a ruling in her favor.
 
“Today is a great victory for victims of assault and discrimination who deserve their rightful day in court,” said Sen. Franken. “Too often, powerful interests silence the voices of folks like Jamie Leigh Jones. But because of her courage and her strength in speaking out, we’re one step closer to saying no one else will have to suffer through what she did. Her story inspired this change and it is just the beginning. I will continue to stand up for folks like Jamie Leigh and everyone who needs a voice in Washington.”

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