Judiciary Workplace Conduct Group Seeks Law Clerk, Employee Input
A new mailbox on uscourts.gov is available for current and former federal Judiciary law clerks and all other employees to submit comments relating to the federal Judiciary’s policies and procedures for protecting all employees from inappropriate workplace conduct.
The mailbox is one of several early initiatives from the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group. James C. Duff, Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, formed the Group last month at the direction of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
The Working Group had its first in-person meeting Feb. 7, 2018, and will meet again in early March.
Steps taken by the Working Group include:
- Removal of a model confidentiality statement from the Judiciary’s internal website to revise it to eliminate any ambiguous language that could unintentionally discourage law clerks or other employees from reporting sexual harassment or other workplace misconduct.
- Reviewing the confidentiality provisions in several employee/law clerk handbooks to revise them to clarify that nothing in the provisions prevents the filing of a complaint.
- Identifying specifically the data that the Judiciary collects about judicial misconduct complaints to add a category for any complaints filed relating to sexual misconduct. The data shows that of the 1,303 misconduct complaints filed in fiscal year 2016, more than 1,200 were filed by dissatisfied litigants and prison inmates. No complaints were filed by law clerks or Judiciary employees and no misconduct complaints related to sexual harassment.
- Expanding workplace conduct training the Federal Judicial Center (FJC) provides to judges and others who work in the Judiciary. Sessions on workplace harassment are scheduled for in-person education programs for chief district and bankruptcy judges this spring and for new chief judges of all kinds in the fall. When newly appointed judges attended FJC training earlier this month, a new sexual harassment session was included in their ethics orientation.
The workplace conduct comment mailbox will be open until March 21, 2018. Only comments related to improving workplace policies and procedures will be considered. Comments may be signed or submitted anonymously. Submissions are for the use of the Working Group and will not be made public. The Working Group also will solicit input from law clerks and the Judiciary’s advisory groups and councils, which are composed of a cross section of people who work in the federal courts.