Earlier this year, Sen. Franken introduced an amendment (S.2588) to the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill that would restrict funding to defense contractors who commit employees to mandatory binding arbitration in the case of sexual assault. The legislation, endorsed by 61 women’s, labor and public interest groups, was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones.
The Huffington Post reported earlier today:
An amendment that would prevent the government from working with contractors who deny victims of sexual assault the right to bring their case in court has survived attempts to dull its impact and seems poised to become law.
…The final product, in the end, proved remarkably strong. According to a Franken aide, the substance of the language “is unchanged.” Under the amendment the government would not be able to do business with companies that deny court hearings for victims of either assault, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent hiring practice. The controversial Title VII provision, which would allow victims of assault to sue the employers of the alleged perpetrator and not just the perpetrator himself or herself, remains in the bill. Meanwhile, the threshold at which companies will be subjected to the legislation is set at those who have contracts totaling $1 million or more.
All told, the legislation would affect all major and many minor contractors, forcing them to choose between allowing litigation for their employees or forfeiting the hundreds of millions in dollars that are doled out annually in contracts by the federal government.