The Los Angeles Times reports that Halliburton is asking the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed Ms. Jamie Leigh Jones' Halliburton KBR rape case to go to trial. Ms. Jones claims that she was raped while she was working for the company in Baghdad. KBR was Halliburton's subsidiary until 2007. They are now two separate corporate entities that are currently involved in this case.
Halliburton claims that the contract signed by Ms. Jones and other workers hired by the company indicated that claims must be resolved through arbitration, not trials. However, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in Ms. Jones' favor in September. They ruled that she can proceed with a court trial of her case.
It is interesting to note that in a previous entry, we wrote about how the Senate recently passed a law that prevents the Defense Dept. from working with contractors that require employees to deal with sexual assault and other claims through arbitration and mediation.
This is not the first time that an employee has had a rape claim against the company. Halliburton KBR came under fire for another case that involved Ms. Tracy Barker, who was allegedly raped while working as a civilian contractor for the company. Her lawsuit was dismissed in January 2008 when a Texas judge in Houston ruled that she had to stick with an employment agreement that she signed with the company that stated that any claims that she made against the company would have to go through mediation and arbitration, not the courts.
If Ms. Jones does end up in arbitration over her rape case, it may not be too terrible. As previously discussed here, Ms. Barker ended up receiving an arbitration award of close to $3 million. (Though Halliburton fought to keep Ms. Barker in arbitration and out of court, it reportedy plans to appeal her arbitration award.)