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On October 6, 2009, the Senate passed an amendment (SA 2588) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 20l0 (HR 3326) which will restrict the use of binding arbitration provisions by federal contractors.
The amendment affects federal defense contractors who currently use mandatory arbitration agreements of claims under Title VII or any tort claims “relating or arising out of” sexual assault or sexual harassment, including claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention. The amendment prohibits allocating defense appropriations funds to any “existing or new” federal contract if the contractor or subcontractor “at any tier” requires employees or independent contractors to sign such mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.
The amendment passed with 68 votes in favor and 30 against. The amendment was submitted by Senator Franken (D-MN) on October 1, 2009, and is co-sponsored by Senator Landrieu (D-LA).