Senate Protects Employee Rights With Forced Arbitration Ban

Yesterday, the Senate adopted an amendment that will prevent federal funding from going to any contractor that requires its employees to use mandatory binding arbitration, instead of court, for sexual assault and civil rights claims against the company.

The amendment was in response to the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, the former Halliburton/KBR employee who allegedly was raped by coworkers in Iraq’s green zone and imprisoned by her superiors. When she returned to the U.S. and sued her former employer for claims relating to the rape, the company tried to force her into arbitration instead of court.

Last month, a court held that Jones’s case couldn’t be compelled into arbitration. With this amendment, victims will no longer have to sue to be able to sue for sexual assault and discrimination claims.

The passage of this amendment is a good step toward ending forced arbitration, a secretive, unfair, and lawless system that companies force on consumers, employees, and franchise owners. A larger bill, the Arbitration Fairness Act, would ban these forced arbitration clauses from these types of contracts.

Senate OKs Measure Related to KBR Assault Claim [Houston Chronicle]