In December 2017, Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas appointed a Workplace Environment Committee to address issues dealing with prevention of workplace harassment and fostering a positive work environment in the courts of the Ninth Circuit. The Committee is chaired by Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown, and includes Chief District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, District Judge Charles R. Bryer, Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale, and employment and mediation specialist Abby Silverman. Following are some of the early initiatives launched by the Committee.
The Committee has already conducted focus groups with current law clerks and has plans for focus groups for former law clerks and current employees. In the process of redrafting various law clerk and employee policies, the Committee also is consulting with law school deans and other organizations on best practices. The Committee is also coordinating with the federal judiciary's Workplace Conduct Working Group appointed by Chief Justice Roberts.
On February 26, the Committee sent a confidential questionnaire to approximately 6,000 current employees and current and former law clerks seeking suggestions on circuit policies, training, and programs to address harassment and the workplace environment. Comments may be submitted anonymously. If you are a former Ninth Circuit clerk or employee who did not receive the questionnaire but want to participate, please contact the Committee at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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