Finally, there's some news about Jamie Leigh Jones, the former Halliburton/KBR employee who was gang-raped by co-workers and then held in a shipping container so she couldn't report it, that won't make any reasonable person weep.
On Tuesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Jones's rape and false imprisonment were not, in fact, job-related — meaning the mandatory arbitration clause in her employment contract with KBR is unenforceable where those charges are concerned. You might recall that after the Department of Justice declined to bring criminal charges against Jones's rapists, that contract forced her into closed-door arbitration with KBR — and an arbitrator they hired — rather than a civil suit. After 15 months of getting jerked around, Jones decided to fight the arbitration contract and now, 2 years later, she's won that battle decisively.
Writes Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones
One of the judges who ruled in her favor, Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, is a West Point grad, Vietnam vet, and one of the court's most conservative members, a sign, perhaps, of just how bad the facts are in this case. It's a big victory, but a bitter one that shows just how insidious mandatory arbitration is. It's taken Jones three years of litigation just to get to the point where she can finally sue the people who allegedly wronged her. It will be many more years before she has a shot at any real justice.
But finally, she has that shot. And maybe so do the other women who have come forward with allegations against KBR since Jones went public, but were just as hamstrung by the arbitration clause. As of February 2008, there were at least 38 of them.
Court rules that KBR employee's gang rape wasn't a personal injury ‘arising in the workplace' [Think Progress]
Court Okays Halliburton Rape Trial [Mother Jones]
Earlier: Iraq Sexual Assault Victim: "I Felt Safer On The Convoys With The Army Than I Ever Did Working For KBR"
"What, Don't You Always End Up In Need Of Reconstructive Surgery After A Night Of Good Consensual Sex?"