US court system plans review of workplace rules after claims
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The nation’s largest federal court circuit announced Friday that it plans to review its workplace protections following the resignation of a judge facing sexual misconduct allegations.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court identified the members of a new committee tasked with evaluating the court’s workplace policies and proposing any needed changes. The circuit includes the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and district courts in California and eight other states in the U.S. West.
Chief Judge Sidney Thomas said in a statement that the courts had effective procedures to avoid workplace issues but needed to re-examine them, improve communication and assure law clerks and staff of a “healthy and productive workplace.”
The announcement follows the retirement last month of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski after the Washington Post reported that 15 women — some of whom worked for him as law clerks or in other positions — accused him of groping, making lewd comments or showing them pornography.
The 9th Circuit committee will be headed by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M. Margaret McKeown, who was appointed to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Thomas said the circuit will coordinate its efforts with a working group recently created by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to examine the judiciary’s workplace conduct policies.