Lawmakers concerned about judicial sexual harassment

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2020 | Employment |

Employees in California in a wide range of positions and industries continue to suffer from sexual harassment on the job, including people in high-ranking positions or prestigious careers. For example, the House Judiciary Committee said that the Judicial Conference of the United States needs to do more to protect law clerks, typically new law graduates, and other staff from sexual harassment by judges. Judicial clerkships are typically highly sought-after positions after high school graduation, and a successful clerkship can open doors for a future legal career. Federal judges have lifetime tenure in their roles, and some have suggested that a portion may behave as if they can act with impunity as a result.

Members of the committee questioned the response of the Judicial Conference to issues that arose at a hearing on sexual harassment by federal judges. The conduct of one judge in particular was scrutinized at the hearing, and lawmakers said that it was unclear whether any reviews or changes to handling of misconduct issues took place as a result. The 10th Circuit found that the judge in question was responsible for multiple serious incidents of sexual harassment against employees. While he was reprimanded, he kept his position and continues to rule on cases. However, since the attention given to the case, the judge has now announced his resignation.

Because judicial clerkships can be so key to launching a successful legal career, clerks and other employees may feel especially pressured to keep silent about sexual harassment. This is the case even though these workers may be highly educated about workplace harassment and their rights under the law.

Workplace discrimination and sexual harassment can affect people at entry-level positions or in long-term executive careers. An employment law attorney may help victims of harassment to pursue compensation for the losses they have suffered as a result.