Rape victim upset KBR trying to modify $3M arbitration award
Tracy Barker has been awarded almost $3 million by an arbitrator in assault charges against a U.S. contractor and former Halliburton subsidiary, after claiming she was raped in 2005 by a State Department employee in Iraq, the Associated Press reports.
“It took me a long time to get here. I’m happy about the award,” she told the AP. But it’s not over for her yet.
KBR has appealed the ruling and intends to shrink its payout to $300,000, according to Barker’s website. Barker filed the suit in May 2007, but her case was dismissed the following year and relegated to be settled through arbitration rather than courts, as per a prior agreement with her employer.
“They are still dragging it out,” the AP recorded her as saying. “They didn’t win and now they want to amend the award. You can’t with binding arbitration. How is that fair?”
Barker said in her lawsuit that in June 2005 she was raped in her room, after complaining about numerous threats of sexual abuse and sexual comments from co-workers, which she claimed were ignored by the company.
KBR Inc. officially split from Halliburton in April 2007. Like its former parent company, KBR is no stranger to controversy, including sexual assault of its employees, but has typically gotten away with its alleged transgressions in the past, and to this day retains lucrative U.S. military contracts.
In 2005, former employee Jamie Leigh Jones testified before Congress that she had been gang-raped by several co-workers while in Iraq. Mary Beth Kineston, who drove trucks for KBR in Iraq, also claimed to have been sexually assaulted by co-workers and was fired after reporting it, while the accused kept their jobs. Both lawsuits against KBR were ultimately thrown out.
In 2008, the New York Times reported that KBR held the “largest single Pentagon contract in Iraq” and stood “accused of wasteful spending and mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick Cheney.” KBR has also been slammed in recent years for tax evasion worth hundreds of millions of dollars, poor employee safety, and human trafficking. This year it was charged by the Justice Department for bribing Nigerian officials.