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Most Circuits Have Created Their Own Working Groups to End Harassment, Support Victims

In response to the multitude of sexual harassment allegations against Alex Kozinski a year ago, Chief Justice Roberts asked AO Director Duff to create a Judiciary Working Group on Workplace Conduct that would seek to end harassment in the judiciary and ensure victims they would get the support they need.

Since then, the judiciary has changed several policies to help victims, though other anti-harassment have either not gone far enough or have yet to be implemented.

At the same time, several circuit courts have decided on their own to create circuit-based working groups with similar goals, with the thought being that there are advantages to a clearer, more local solution.

On Dec. 19, Fix the Court reached out to each of the circuits to ask them if they had created local workings groups and if so, what their status was. Here are the results, with the quotes coming from each court’s circuit executive or clerk:

First Circuit:
“We are presently in the process of setting up a workplace conduct committee in the First Circuit. I expect we will announce it publicly just after the first of the year.”

Second Circuit:
“The Second Circuit is working together with the Chief Justice’s Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group and other courts on improving the Court’s and the Judiciary’s policies, processes and training concerning workplace conduct.”

Third Circuit:
No response.

Fourth Circuit:
Chief Judge Gregory “will be appointing a special standing committee on workplace conduct, and he has asked me to submit a list of recommended candidates for his consideration. We are in the process of submitting the list.”

Fifth Circuit:
Chief Judge Stewart “appointed an ad hoc council committee to evaluate and make recommendations in the area of workplace conduct.”

Sixth Circuit:
No response.

Seventh Circuit:
Chief Judge Wood appointed a workplace conduct committee earlier this year headed by Judge David Hamilton “to examine the process for raising claims of harassment in connection with employment in the courts of the Seventh Circuit and the consideration of those claims. […] We have an amended EEO plan on the website which is a product of the committee.”

Eighth Circuit:
“We have not formed a local working group for sexual harassment, although once we have all of the model plans and recommendations from the national groups, we may form one for implementation purposes.”

Ninth Circuit:
Created its own circuit-wide working group on workplace conduct.

Tenth Circuit:
The court has not formed its own internal working group. “We were lucky to have two judges very involved in the national working group (Judge Robinson and Judge Tymkovich) and also had the benefit of Jill Langley’s (the new Chief Integrity Officer) expertise. She was tapped into the national group as well and has done a lot of circuit-wide EDR training.”

Eleventh Circuit:
No response.

D.C. Circuit:
Created its own circuit-wide working group on workplace conduct.

Federal Circuit:
The court has not formed its own internal working group but says it “continues to monitor and to participate in the ongoing discussions within the federal judiciary both locally and nationally as to how best to prevent workplace misconduct against all court employees.”

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