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Workplace Conduct in the Federal Judiciary

The federal Judiciary is committed to a workplace free from discrimination, sexual or other discriminatory harassment, and abusive conduct. It is also committed to ensuring that every employee has clear avenues to obtain confidential advice, report misconduct, and seek and receive remedial action.

Avenues for Reporting & Advice

Current and former Judiciary employees, and interviewed applicants for positions within the Judciary, have multiple avenues available to them, both inside and outside of their employing court, to seek support and guidance regarding workplace conduct concerns. Points of contact at the national, circuit, and local court levels can all provide confidential advice and will explain the resources and options available, including how to request an assisted resolution or how to file a formal complaint under a court's Employment Dispute Resolution Plan (EDR) or under the Judicial Conduct & Disability Act. Employees are free to contact whomever they feel most comfortable.

Reporting Workplace Harassment & Other Wrongful Conduct

Report unwelcome harassment and other wrongful conduct as soon as possible, before it becomes severe or pervasive, so that the misconduct can be corrected immediately and further harassment can be prevented.

Anyone wishing to withhold their name or other personally identifiable information can do so by simply stating that request when calling and/or by using an email account that does not include this information when emailing.

National Office of Judicial Integrity

The national Office of Judicial Integrity (OJI) serves as an independent resource outside of the courts’ chain of command, providing confidential help, information, and referral, answering questions and providing guidance on informal and formal complaint options for addressing workplace harassment, abusive conduct, or other wrongful conduct. The office also coordinates with the directors of workplace relations in each of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. The Judicial Integrity Officer and head of the office is Michael Henry. Confidentially report by:

Circuit Directors of Workplace Relations

The directors of workplace relations in each circuit offer another point of contact external to an employee’s local court, providing confidential advice and information regarding options for addressing workplace conduct concerns. The directors of workplace relations can also facilitate assisted resolutions and help employees informally address workplace conduct concerns. 

Court EDR Coordinators

Every federal court has at least one person designated as an EDR Coordinator who provides a local resource for court employees. EDR coordinators can provide confidential guidance and information regarding the EDR process and can assist employees with filing a request for assisted resolution or a formal complaint. EDR Coordinators often coordinate with the OJI and the directors of workplace relations.

Model Employment Dispute Resolution Plan (EDR)

The Model Employment Dispute Resolution Plan (EDR) was updated and approved by the Judicial Conference in Sept. 2019. It was amended to include definitions and examples of wrongful conduct, three flexible options for resolving conduct issues, flowcharts that explain EDR rights and options, and training requirements for EDR coordinators and judiciary employees. Anyone needing help locating the appropriate EDR plan or coordinator can contact the Office of Judicial Integrity at 202-502-1603 or by email at AO_OJI@ao.uscourts.gov.

Changes to Judges’ Code and Rules

The Judicial Conference approved changes to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges, the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings, and the Code of Conduct for Judiciary Employees on March 12, 2019.

Review the proposed changes, public comments, and testimony.

Training

The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) is working with the courts to provide a variety of orientation and educational programs to judges, law clerks, and court staff on:

  • Preventing workplace harassment;
  • Diversity and civility in the workplace; and
  • Code of Conduct.

The FJC has added instructive in-person programs on workplace policies, including those regarding sexual harassment, for judges and court unit executives.

New law clerks are provided orientation and supporting materials outlining a law clerk’s options if he or she experiences or observes inappropriate conduct in the workplace.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts' Office of Fair Employment Practices conducts anti-harassment and workplace conduct training sessions for court executives, senior managers, court employees, and chambers staff.

The Office of Judicial Integrity and directors of workplace relations in each circuit also provide extensive training and education to the courts on a range of workplace conduct topics. Requests for training programs can be made easily by contacting those offices directly.

Workplace Conduct Working Group

In June of 2018, the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group recommended measures to improve workplace conduct policies and procedures in the federal Judiciary.