Monday, June 11, 2018
The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, a group of federal judges and senior Judiciary officials formed at the request of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., issued a report recommending measures to improve workplace conduct policies and procedures in the federal Judiciary. The Working Group submitted its findings to the Judicial Conference of the United States, the federal Judiciary’s policy-making body. The report and an executive summary are available online.
The recommendations include clarifying workplace standards and communications about how employees can raise formal complaints, removing barriers to reporting complaints, providing additional and less formal avenues for employees to seek expert advice and assistance on workplace conduct issues, and utilizing enhanced training on these subjects for judges and employees.
Several recommendations of the Working Group have already been implemented or are underway, such as clarifying that confidentiality rules in the Judiciary do not prevent law clerks or employees from reporting misconduct by judges. Many of the report’s recommendations require further action by the Judicial Conference.
The report is here.
Commentary by Joan Biskupic, CNN, Judicial "Inappropriate Conduct" Broader than Isolated Incidents, Panel Finds
A special US judiciary working group set up last December after a prominent appeals court judge was accused of sexual harassment reported on Monday that "inappropriate conduct" in the nation's courthouses is "not limited to a few isolated instances."Yet the eight-member group -- which met with scores of former and current employees of the judiciary and invited comment nationwide -- did not detail the magnitude of employee abuse in the US judiciary beyond saying it was "not pervasive." The group also did not note whether, during its five months of study, any action was taken against individual judges or other court employees.The working group, which was established by Chief Justice John Roberts, made several recommendations in its report, including that:
- judges should put a greater priority on improving workplace culture
- the code of conduct should be revised to make clear what behavior is prohibited
- the complaint system should be made more transparent and accessible.