Senator Al Franken passed a major piece of legislation today, a major warning for the defense contractors hired by the U.S. government and their disregard for their female employees. It’s notable that all women in the Senate, Democrat and Republican, voted in favor of the amendment while thirty Republican men voted against it.
In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang raped by her co-workers while working for defense contractor KBR/Halliburton in Baghdad, and was then detained in a shipping container for over 24 hours without food or water and told that if she sought medical treatment “she’d be out of a job.” Afterward, Jones was prevented from taking the case to court because her contract stipulated that any sexual assault allegations could only be heard in private arbitration.
The Franken amendment withholds contracts from these companies “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.”
The Department of Defense opposed the bill. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama was rather vocal about his opposition, maintaining that “Franken’s amendment overreached into the private sector and suggested that it violated the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.”
Apparently because companies, not women, deserve due process under the law. And because corporations should be allowed to abuse and aid in the abuse of their employees regardless of all civil and criminal laws designed to protect them!
More power to designing protections for an individual’s rights as a citizen and worker, especially when the taxpayers are footing the bill.
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