That’s right, more than 125,500 signed our petition to demand an end to the US Chamber of Commerce’s lobbying against Senator Franken’s (D-Minn) amendment to bar defense contractors like Halliburton/KBR from forcing employees with sexual assault and discrimination claims into arbitration.
Public Citizen, along with MoveOn.org, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Consumer Action, Workplace Fairness, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Take Back Your Rights PAC, Alliance for Justice and the Jamie Leigh Foundation, sent the following petition to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue:
Defense contractors routinely force their employees to give up their legal rights to press charges if they are sexually assaulted on the job. I urge the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to stop lobbying in favor of this terrible practice and to stop protecting rapists.
It’s a horrifying story that began with Jamie Leigh Jones’ rape and subsequent denial of justice. Sen. Franken championed the amendment on behalf of Jones and others like her, and the grassroots support from Public Citizen and others was impossible to ignore.
Now the amendment is on its way to restoring victims’ rights against and defense contractors’ shadowy attempts to conceal these injustices.
If the Franken amendment passes in the defense funding bill, it means that U.S. contractors must allow victims of sexual assault and discrimination to take their claims to court – a right that has been systematically denied to them through a forced arbitration clause slipped into their employment contracts (along with workers in numerous other sectors ).
Finally, workers who are victims of these injustices will be able hold the defense contractors who employ them accountable.
Nevertheless, the fight is far from over for the millions of other workers, consumers, home owners, patients and others who are e stripped of their right to go to court just by using a product or service, or taking a job.
Nobody should have to give up their right to go to court if harmed by a company as a condition for a contract. Congress now needs to pass the Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 1020 / S. 931) and end forced arbitration once and for all.