As the #MeToo movement swept the country, the federal judiciary faced its reckoning in light of allegations against several judges. In short order, with the backing of Chief Justice Roberts, workplace issues took center stage. This Essay highlights workplace risks relevant to the judiciary, then details the significant changes adopted by the federal judiciary to foster a healthy, harassment-free, and productive work environment. Major undertakings include the establishment of a national Office of Judicial Integrity; circuit-wide Directors of Workplace Relations; multiple avenues to report misconduct, including anonymous reporting; revamped employment dispute policies; revised ethics, reporting, and discipline rules; and targeted workshops and trainings. While realizing the full potential of these reforms will require continued focus and deliberate attention across our workplace of 30,000 employees nationwide, the federal judiciary—with the backing of Chief Justice Roberts—remains committed to a workplace that treats everyone with respect and dignity.
M. Margaret McKeown is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is Chair of the Ninth Circuit Committee on Workplace Environment and a member of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group. She thanks Michael Henry, Judicial Integrity Officer, Administrative Office of the United States Courts; Yohance Edwards, Director of Workplace Relations, Ninth Circuit; Paula Raffaelli, Deputy Director of Workplace Relations, Ninth Circuit; and Stella Huynh, Workplace Relations Specialist, Ninth Circuit, for their research assistance.
Copyright 2021 by M. Margaret McKeown
Cite as: M. Margaret McKeown, The Judiciary Steps Up to the Workplace Challenge, 116 Nw. U. L. Rev. Online 275 (2021), https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1319&context=nulr_online.