Before enactment of the so-called Franken Amendment, government contractors were permitted to contractually deny employees the right to sue for sexual assaults on the job. This was the hurdle faced by Jamie Leigh Jones, a former employee of Halliburton-subsidiary KBR in Iraq's "Green Zone."
The facts leading to Jones' dispute were provided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit as follows:
Jones alleges that, following a social gathering outside her barracks, at which alcohol had been consumed, she was drugged, beaten, and gang-raped by several Halliburton/KBR employees in her barracks bedrooom.
A clause in Jones' contract, however, initially prevented her from suing KBR for its role in the alleged sexual assault she survived. While Jones appealed the mandatory arbitration clause in federal court -- a claim fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court by KBR -- Sen. Al Franken submitted an amendment to pending legislation restoring Jones' right to her day in court.