We have written on several occasions about the problems experienced by Jamie Leigh Jones, an employee of KBR, a division of Halliburton, while she was working in Iraq. The woman’s post-incident problems came about because of a pre-dispute mandatory binding arbitration clause in her employment contract. This young woman had a harrowing experience as a private contractor in Iraq when she was raped and beaten by several of her coworkers. When criminal charges could not be filed, Jamie sought to hold KBR / Halliburton accountable for their misconduct. But the arbitration clause buried in her employment contract was constructed to mean she could not have a jury trial. Instead, she would have to go to arbitration, on the corporation’s own terms, for a secret, one-sided tribunal. Jamie’s lawyer is Todd Kelly of the Kelly Law Firm, and her appellate counsel is John Vail who is with the Center for Constitutional Litigation. Hopefully, they will be successful and be able to obtain justice for Jamie.
In the meanwhile, there are two bills pending in Congress that should become law. The Arbitration Fairness Act and the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act are the names of the bills, and each should be passed. These bills would put an end to binding mandatory arbitration clauses in certain consumer, employment, franchise, and nursing home care contracts. On Arbitration Fairness Day, over 30 victims of forced arbitration from targeted states traveled to our Nation’s Capitol to lobby for the passage of the bills. The day was marked with a noon press conference at which the sponsors of the Arbitration Fairness Act, Senator Russ Feingold and Representative Hank Johnson, spoke about urgent need for the passage of legislation. Also speaking at the press conference were Jamie Leigh Jones and other individuals who have suffered terrible consequences as the result of forced arbitration. While that was back in April, so far neither of the bills have been passed. If you are against mandatory, binding arbitration and believe folks like Jamie Leigh Jones deserve to have their day in a real court, let your Senators and House members in Washington know. Unless folks back home get involved and put pressure on the lawmakers, nothing will happen. We can’t afford to miss the opportunity to get something done on the arbitration issue.
Source: American Association For Justice
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