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Workplace Conduct in the Federal Judiciary

The federal judiciary is committed to a workplace free from harassment or inappropriate behavior, and which also gives every employee clear avenues to obtain confidential advice, report misconduct, and seek and receive remedial action.

The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group recommended measures to improve workplace conduct policies and procedures in the federal Judiciary.

Proposed Changes to Judges’ Code and Rules

In the fall of 2018, the Judicial Conference committees on Codes of Conduct and Judicial Conduct and Disability solicited public comment on proposed changes to the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges and the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings.

Review the proposed changes, public comments, and testimony from the public hearing.

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 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.

Alternative Avenues for Advice

The new Office of Judicial Integrity will serve as an independent source of information and referral, including answering judiciary employees’ questions, providing guidance on conflict resolution, mediation, and formal complaint options. The office’s chief, Jill Langley, will start in January 2019. The office also will serve as a resource and coordinate with staff in similar workplace relations positions in the courts. 

The Model Employment Dispute Resolution Plan (EDR) has been amended to cover paid and unpaid interns and externs and extend the time to file a complaint from 30 to 180 days. Additional changes will be considered.