President Barack Obama's 2011 defense budget proposal includes language that would prevent the government from working with contractors who deny victims of sexual assault the right to their day in court.
Buried deep in the Department of Defense budget proposal (page 92 of 94 of this PDF file)
released on Monday is language that mirrors an amendment passed into law this year by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
Like that effort -- which came in response to the assault and rape of Jamie Leigh Jones by her fellow employees at defense contractor KBR -- the DoD's budget would prohibit the government from doing business with companies that deny court hearings for victims of assault. It would also allow victims to sue the employers of the contractor and not just the contractor itself. Any contractors whose contracts total more than $1 million or more would be subjected to the legislation.
Franken's office, which was already ecstatic that their amendment had been adopted in this years appropriations bill, said they were pleasantly shocked that it would now be law of the land for two years running (though, Congress still has to vote on the budget).
Below is the relevant language from the DoD budget request - identical to the Franken amendment's language:
None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be expended for any Federal contract for an amount in excess of $1,000,000 that is awarded more than 60 days after the effective date of this Act, unless the contractor agrees not to:
(1) enter into any agreement with any of its employees or independent contractors that requires, as a condition of employment, that the employee or independent contractor agree to resolve through arbitration 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, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention; or
(2) take any action to enforce any provision of an existing agreement with an employee or independent contractor that mandates that the employee or independent contractor resolve through arbitration 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, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.
(b) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be expended for any Federal contract awarded more than 180 days after the effective date of this Act unless the contractor certifies that it requires each covered subcontractor to agree not to enter into, and not to take any action to enforce any provision of, any agreement as described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a), with respect to any employee or independent contractor performing work related to such subcontract. For purposes of this subsection, a "covered subcontractor'' is an entity that has a subcontract in excess of $1,000,000 on a contract subject to subsection (a).
The Secretary of Defense may waive the application of subsection (a) or (b) to a particular contractor or subcontractor for the purposes of a particular contract or subcontract if the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary personally determines that the waiver is necessary to avoid harm to national security interests of the United States...