Well, you wouldn’t THINK this would be controversial

But Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has an anti-rape amendment to the defense bill that may not make it into law.

The amendment would:

prohibit the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employment contracts prevent employees from taking work-related allegations of rape and discrimination to court.

Defense contractors, the White House, and the defense department are not in favor.

Why? Good question. I’m glad I asked it. Defense contractors might worry that such an amendment opens them up for lawsuits. But how to explain the opposition of the DOD and the White House? I don’t have an answer for that. Do you?

Just to refresh your memory as to why this is important — in case this is a topic about which you are on the fence, go here.

And thanks, Current, for the link.

Published by datingjesus

Just another one of God's children.

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38 Comments

  1. I am so far off the fence that I can’t even see the fence! I can’t imagine why anyone, as a person, would be against this. When you mentioned that the White House is against it, was that based on a statement from Obama? I hope he is not against it.

      1. “GOP senators who voted against anti-rape law refuse to explain why” …maybe because there is no good reason?
        And no good reason why it wouldn’t be enforceable – they could simply look at Jamie’s case.

        1. Are they afraid they’ll lose some contractors? Because it’s my understanding that there are plenty of people who would take their place and make the fat-cash that comes from war profits.

  2. Jac, I’m with you~ What fence? There is no fence on this. Outrageous that the DOD is taking a stand against this.

        1. I hope so, but how could it be illegal, insuring that rape victims can prosecute? Or did I misunderstand…

            1. I think you’re right. I think the lawyers for the contractors are suggesting all kinds of reasons (valid or not) why this shouldn’t go through – just to protect their clients from the hassle of it.

          1. Well if you get all your employees to sign something that says “I will use arbitration, not the courts, for any complaint I have,” you have a better chance of screwing them over, no? And fewer company secrets will become public? Or so it seems….

            And if that’s already legal, maybe this amendment won’t work?

              1. I think what they’re trying to say is that for them, it’s not A Rape Case, it’s a suit against the employer, and the contract that employees sign says that employees will not take them to court for anything, but rather will arbitrate their complaints.

                  1. YOU know that, and *I* know that, but in order to save the status quo they’re going to use this “logic” as long as they can, I betcha.

                    “The employee Signed A Contract that stipulates…blah blah blah… s/he won’t Take Us to Court” and I bet they fight on that basis until someone’s exhausted.

                    1. You point out a huge hole in the wheel of justice — that after a while, a regular citizen will exhaust either finances or person, and just give up.

  3. I just read something that shed a little light on the objection. According to one source, apparently the language in the bill is such that the greater concern is on the ban of arbitration in handling employment dicrimination disputes (as well as sexual assault cases) “including “arbitration” of “any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment.” Apparently, the discrimination cases are more common and they want to handle them through arbitration (I think that’s less costly). That’s another messy discussion and so maybe it’s easier for the senators who oppose it to avoid comment all together.

    There is also a bigger issue with arbitration looming; there is talk of making it voluntary.
    The Arbitration Fairness Act is before Congress, too. For more on this: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105153315
    But if Franken’s bill doesn’t pass, how would this Act pass?

    1. Good question. Thanks for this. So the issue might be banning arbitration? There has to be a way to word this so as to avoid the question and forestall any more awful situations like what Jamie Leigh Jones faced.

      1. I think they’re saying that the real issue is with banning arbitration on discrimination disputes. It’s really difficult to get to the bottom of all of this, I think. Lawyers don’t like arbitration and corporations don’t like court. It boils down to money being a motivator of opinions expressed, I think. That’s too bad because that leaves out the simple act of doing the right thing for people like Jamie. I’d rather see them be motivated to do things to prevent these things from happening again (if that’s possible). I suppose in order to motivate them into doing that, they need to be held accountable for what already has happened.
        I think I’m talkin in circles – sorry.

        1. Have you ever noticed (and this is my own theory and feel free to disagree) that we as a culture seem more comfortable with short-term solutions, short-term vision? So we’ll argue arbitration vs. litigation and we will loose the big picture here?

          1. Yes, I agree! The next election is only a short time away. I know there’s good reason for that, but elections cause people to do things for the sake of the next election and that can be the wrong thing, I think.
            For the rest of us, we just aren’t a patient society sometimes. It’s like saving money for retirement. The benefit is so far off, it’s hard for a lot of 25 year olds to see that it’s in their best interest to do it now. There are things to buy now that are more fun.

            1. That’s true and one would expect that of most 25-year-olds, but we’re all older and — supposedly — wiser.

              1. Supposedly. I wonder. Is there an adult version of the marshmallow test? I think there are plenty of adults that still have trouble with delaying gratification.

                    1. I am surrounded by people who would jump up and whistle “Dixie” for a marshmallow. I’m not sure any of them would be able to hold off, though.

          2. I agree. I think there’s a myriad of reasons why…..
            But I’m reminded of what I would constantly hear during my (happily) brief tenure at a civil litigation law firm:
            How do we make this go away?
            Short term solutions with limited accountability perform the function of removing controversy from the public eye. At least temporarily.

            1. Leftover! Are you an attorney-type? Awesome! And thank you for that perspective. Making things go away is decidedly short-term.

              1. I am not an attorney. I don’t even play one on TV.
                I worked as a paralegal for a time trying to feed an interest in Critical Legal Studies.
                I was a little naive then about the differences between legal theory and legal practice.
                It was an……illuminating….experience.
                Anyway, I was fired, summarily, after informing an up and coming associate where he fit into the asshole index.
                I never looked back. But critical legal theory is still an interest.

  4. They might want to avoid the ACORN standard.
    And if the government and its agents could actually be held accountable to the rule of law, it would make it more difficult to hire on the despicable types needed to support our military and diplomatic presence in foreign countries. Murderers and rapists tend to gravitate more toward impunity than accountability.
    Plus, accountability means liability and that means higher insurance rates. Can you imagine what the liability rates would be for Blackwater if it was held accountable for its actions?
    I’m not surprised by the position of the White House. They want to sustain and extend to the DOD and its outsourcing the same immunity it extends to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Yoo, and the rest of the Torture Team.
    I would like to hear how Obama explains it to the Mrs., though. And his daughters.

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