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Oct. 6, 2009

Franken Amendment Will Hold Military Contractors Accountable 

Statement of David Arkush, Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Today, the U.S. Senate adopted S.A. 2588, sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), as an amendment to H.R. 3326 (the Department of Defense Appropriations Act). The amendment bars defense contractors from imposing forced arbitration clauses on their employees for Title VII violations and sexual assault tort claims.

At least 40 women working for civilian military contractors have come forward to report sexual abuse and assault in the mostly male barracks overseas. These women have suffered a second time by being forced by their employers into the secret, biased system of arbitration.

Sen. Franken’s amendment will give women who have not yet brought their claims an opportunity to seek justice and to hold accountable any contractor that permits sexual abuse to occur on their watch. Thanks to Sen. Franken, military contractors in this country will no longer be above the law.

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