Your Employee Rights and How to Report Wrongful Conduct
The Federal Judiciary is committed to providing an exemplary workplace, one of respect, civility, fairness, tolerance, and dignity, and free of discrimination and harassment. These values are essential to the Judiciary, which holds its Judges and Employees to the highest standards. All Judges and Employees are expected to treat each other accordingly.
The Court has adopted several formal policy statements—some national, some local—prohibiting inappropriate workplace conduct. The Court has also established procedural mechanisms, both formal and informal, for employees aggrieved by any such misconduct to seek redress. The relevant policies and procedures may be quickly found by clicking on the links that appear below.
- 1. The Employment Dispute Resolution Plan (the “EDR Plan”). The EDR Plan prohibits (1) discrimination against employees—including chambers employees—based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and sexual orientation), national origin, age, or disability; (2) harassment of an employee based on any of these protected categories; (3) abusive conduct; and (4) retaliation for engaging in any protected activity. The EDR Plan establishes processes for obtaining informal advice or assisted resolution, and for filing a formal complaint, including, when needed, for obtaining a hearing before a judge. Adriana Mark (212-857-8910) serves as the Court’s Employment Dispute Resolution Coordinator. Alana Chill (212-857-8698) is the Circuit Director of Workplace Relations, and also serves as the alternate Employment Dispute Resolution Coordinator for the Court of Appeals. Centrally, in Washington, the Office of Judicial Integrity (located in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts) also has staff available as a confidential resource for employees with concerns covered by the EDR Plan.
- 2. The Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, 28 U.S.C. §§ 351-364 (the “JC&D Act”). This Act establishes a procedure for any person, including a court employee, to file a written complaint with the Clerk of the Court if the person believes that a judge has engaged in conduct “prejudicial to the administration of the business of the courts” or is “unable to discharge the duties of office by reason of a mental or physical disability.” The Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings, 249 F.R.D. 662 (U.S. Jud. Conf. 2008), govern the filing and processing of such complaints, which, in most cases, involve initial review by the Chief Circuit Judge.
- 3. The Code of Conduct for United States Judges. The Judges' Code requires judges to avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety, in both their professional and personal conduct, and requires judges explicitly to be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to others.
- 4. The Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees. The Judicial Employees’ Code provides that judicial employees should personally observe high standards of conduct and be patient, dignified, respectful, and courteous to others.
In sum, these policies and procedures establish the principles that, in every workplace that is part of the Judicial Branch, (1) discriminatory or abusive conduct is prohibited; (2) employees are encouraged to report workplace misconduct; (3) concerns and complaints will be promptly investigated; (4) retaliation against any employee for reporting misconduct is prohibited; and (5) employees who are accused of misconduct will have a full and fair opportunity to be heard.
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