Judiciary workers would get the same antidiscrimination rights and whistleblower protections as other federal employees under legislation proposed in both houses of Congress on Thursday.
A House bill and a companion measure introduced in the Senate follow the judiciary’s own #MeToo-era reckoning in which several judges were accused of workplace harassment.
While many institutions took action to create workplace misconduct protections amid the #MeToo movement, “the federal Judiciary has failed to take effective steps to protect their employees from harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other misconduct,” House Judiciary chair and co-sponsor Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y) said in a statement.
Two key provisions would apply the same civil rights laws that already protect private- and government- sector workers to federal judiciary employees, and would give them the same protection against whistleblower retaliation that other federal employees have.
The proposal would also institute a workplace misconduct prevention program that would be overseen by a newly created Commission on Judicial Integrity and establish a Special Counsel of for Equal Employment Opportunity to investigate workplace misconduct complaints.
House bill sponsors also include Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.). Senate sponsors include Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).