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Harassment Shield for Judiciary Workers in House, Senate Bills

July 29, 2021, 10:43 PM

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.).

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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