Just a few days after Jamie Leigh Jones arrived in Iraq to work for Halliburton/KBR, the contractor formerly run by Dick Cheney, several of her co-workers attacked and gang-raped her. She was severely beaten in the attack, and parts of her body are still disfigured today.
In an apparent attempt to cover up the incident, the company then put her in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” Even more insultingly, the DOJ resisted bringing any criminal charges in the matter. –ThinkProgress
When Jones attempted to sue KBR for failing to adequately protect her, KBR argued that according to the terms of her contract, her attack counted as nothing more than a workplace injury, which must be heard in arbitration (meaning no judge, jury, public record, or court transcript) rather than go to trial.
Last September the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jones. But now, KBR is petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.
Among its many arguments in favor of a high court hearing: that Jones is a relentless self-promoter who has “sensationalize[d] her allegations against the KBR Defendants in the media, before the courts, and before Congress.” … KBR also suggests that much of Jones’ story is fabricated. The company says in a footnote, “Many, if not all, of her allegations against the KBR Defendants are demonstrably false. The KBR Defendants intend to vigorously contest Jones’s allegations and show that her claims against the KBR Defendants are factually and legally untenable.” –ThinkProgress
While KBR’s shameless defamation tactic grossly adds insult to injury, we may get some satisfaction out of its newfound forced arbitration impotence. President Obama recently signed the so-called Franken Amendment to The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010, which prohibits defense contractors like KBR from mandating arbitration and denying court proceedings in cases of workplace discrimination, battery, and sexual assault.