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Amendment ensures contractors have legal rights

• McClatchy News
Four years ago, Jamie Leigh Jones, a 20-year old Texas contract employee working in Iraq, was drugged, stripped, beaten and gang-raped by her co-workers on her fourth day in country. She finally managed to get a phone call out from the shipping container where she was being detained — by her employer, KBR, then a Halliburton company.

That call to her father led to a call to her congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and her rescue after Poe had the State Department locate her. But Jones' attempts at justice — and restitution — were blocked by a little-noticed compulsory arbitration clause in the contracts of private employees working for federal government contractors.

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Comment by Powell Gammill
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Sen. Al Franken's (D-MN) "rape amendment," which guarantees that rape victims who work for defense contractors can pursue charges against their employers, has been championed by many but opposed by Obama's Department of Defense. The Pentagon initially called the measure unenforceable. But the provision, part of the defense appropriations bill, made it through conference committee and is now supported by the White House.

So what changed?

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