Good news for Jamie Leigh Jones, the KBR/Halliburton employee who was gang-raped in Iraq by a bunch of her co-workers and then locked into a room without water, food or a phone: Halliburton has decided to drop its Supreme Court appeal to ban her from bringing her case to court.
In case you don’t remember the details of the case, when Jones signed her Halliburton employee contract, she neglected to read the small print that required her to settle any civil or criminal case she had against the company through arbitration instead of court. Settling a gang-rape case through arbitration would be much more favorable to Halliburton than a trial by jury, so Jones brought her case to Congress, who then pushed through a law that withholds government defense contracts from companies who “restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.”
Despite the fact that the legislation was signed after the Jones incident, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Jones that her case could be litigated in civil court because the rapes were not related to her employment with Halliburton. Halliburton initially appealed that decision through the Supreme Court, seeking to block her from bringing her case to trial, but now they have decided to withdraw the appeal to avoid the risk of possibly violating the new legislation. One small step for Halliburton, one giant leap for everyone who thinks they are sinister assholes.
Jones is set to go to trial in May 2011, which is sure to be terrible for her, but at least justice is going to be served.