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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

It was nice to see recently elected and finally seated Minnesota Senator Al Franken get his first amendment passed last month. Unfortunately, it was about a very weighty topic. The amendment to the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act prohibiting the government from contracting with companies who require their employees to agree to resolve certain claims, such as sexual assault, through arbitration. The amendment arises from the testimony of Jamie Leigh Jones that she was drugged and gang raped by her co-workers while working for a contractor in Iraq. When she reported the rape to her supervisor, she was locked in a metal shipping crate. She only got out of Iraq by calling her father, who got in touch with their local Congressman in Texas. When she attempted to sue her employer KBR, Inc., a subsidiary of Haliburton, she was told that she had to resolve her claim through arbitration in accordance with her employment contract. Mr. Franken’s amendment was to ensure that the government does not do business with a company who would force its employees to arbitrate such a case as rape.

The bill passed but it was voted against by 30 Republican Senators. The Daily show did a good job of calling the 30 out and pointing out their hypocrisy.

After watching this, spend a little time thinking about why these 30 voted as they did. Who are they protecting and who’s side are they on? This week, this same group has been leading the floor fight against the Health Care Bill. They have been calling lawyers names, they have been calling for damage caps, and they have claimed that the change isn’t for the best. Ask again who’s side they are on? It’s never been the consumer.

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