KBR's decision represents the first significant legal fallout from the "Franken amendment," which protects defense workers from being forced to accept arbitration after suffering sexual assault, battery or discrimination. The measure became the subject of a testy Senate battle that reverberated in legal circles and in popular culture as the subject of a Jon Stewart rant on cable TV's "The Daily Show."I thank Sen. Al Franken and all the senators, including some Republicans, who voted to ban US Dept. of Defense contractors from making employees who report rape go into mandatory arbitration. Sometimes it takes the prospect of losing a new multi-billion dollar contract for a corporation stop a pattern of treatment which should have never started.
KBR, which has sought to handle Jamie Leigh Jones' claim out of court, acknowledged Tuesday that its appeal might violate the amendment.
To those 30 Republican senators who voted against the Franken amendment, shame on you. If your support for arbitration blinded you to how arbitration can be misused to harm rape victims you have nobody but yourself to blame for the backlash which followed your no votes.
If companies and their employees are negligent in allowing rape or are negligent in their handling of reports of rape then they need to face the full legal consequences of their negligence. Being raped is never a workplace dispute.