Federal Judiciary Recognizes Civility And Respect In Its Workplace

The federal judiciary routinely hears (and often dismisses) lawsuits filed by workers who have suffered soul crushing disrespect, humiliation and abuse from an employer.

This is one reason why the recommendations of The Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Group matter.

The group this week re-committed to the promotion of an “exemplary workplace” for the 30,000 employees of the federal court system “through engaged leadership and more expansive education in the areas of civility, respect and communication.”

Historically, federal judges have graduated from elite colleges and law schools to high-paid jobs in private law firms representing employers to the bench. There, they are exempt from federal discrimination laws. And they have lifetime tenure and can’t be forced to retire.

The federal judiciary’s workplace was the antithesis of democratic. Federal judges were the equivalent of kings in their chambers, and many young law clerks were treated more like serfs than workers.

After several high profile cases where staff complained of sexual harassment and workplace bullying by federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2018 appointed the workplace conduct group to improve the environment in which federal employees work.

If federal judges must treat their workers with dignity and respect, perhaps they will expect this of other employers?

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Judge Dismisses Case Of Threats by Cognitively Impaired Man

A federal judge in New Hampshire recently addressed a Solomon-like case involving the right of a town to protect its workplace from threats and intimidation by a severely cognitively impaired man.

The 20-year-old man, N.P., who has the cognitive ability of a six-year-0ld, was attending a municipal summer camp in 2019 in Meredith, NH, when he threatened to kill the camp director and two attendees.

Even though N.P. apparently lacked the ability to understand and carry out such threats, the camp director reported the threats to police and the next day N.P. was suspended.

N.P. originally was suspended indefinitely but town officials later limited the suspension to 60-days.

Americans With Disabilities Act

U.S. District Judge Steven J. McAuliffe recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by N.P.’s guardian after finding there was insufficient evidence to show the town violated N.P.’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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International Cisgender Day?

It may be time to rename International Women’s Day, which was organized in 1909 to commemorate the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women.

Face it. The term “women” has fallen into disfavor. It’s discriminatory.

According to the ACLU, the term “women” isn’t gender neutral.

Women today must be called “cisgender” or “people with a gender that aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth.”

Don’t dare to question the innate femaleness of a male who identifies as a woman. She also can compete on a collegiate woman’s swim team, even if her 6-foot, four-inch body towers over her biological female counterparts. And she can use the locker room if she has not undergone sex reassignment surgery. She is a woman.

Birthing Person?

Along with the term “women,” it appears the term “mother” also is going the way of fireman and actress.

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Judge Must Face Trial For Allegedly Obstructing Deportation

A federal appeals court has refused to dismiss a case in which a Massachusetts state court judge allegedly arranged for the escape of an undocumented immigrant who previously was twice deported and was suspected of narcotics possession and drunk driving.

A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, of Newton, MA, and her then clerk, Wesley MacGregor, must face trial for allegedly conspiring on April 2, 2019 to release the prisoner, who was appearing before Judge Joseph to be arraigned.

Judge Joseph and MacGregor allegedly turned off the courtroom recorder in violating of courthouse rules, and devised a ruse that the prisoner would go to a basement lockup to retrieve some property and then exit the courthouse. MacGregor allegedly used his access card to swipe the prisoner out the back door of the courthouse (and then allegedly lied about accidentally turning off the courtroom recorder.)

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Huge Step Forward For Sexual Harassment Victims

Sexual harassers in the past managed to slither undetected from workplace to workplace, thanks to the anonymity offered by forced arbitration.

But times are changing.

President Joe Biden this week signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, landmark legislation that prevents employers from requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements that preclude them from filing in a lawsuit in court involving sexual assault or sexual harassment.

Biden called it a “momentous day for justice and fairness in the workplace.”

His assessment was affirmed by a rare lack of partisanship in Congress. The U.S. Senate approved the measure on a voice vote, which meant there was no opposition. There was a split roll call vote in the House of Representatives but it was approved by 222 Democrats and 113 Republicans. Yet, 97 House Republicans opposed the bill, including a number of women.

Clueless Dupes?

Why would a female legislator oppose something that protects women from violence in the workplace? The bill merely brings sexual harassment into the light of day by giving victims the right to go to court. Workers can still voluntarily opt to proceed with arbitration if they choose.

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