Reps. Johnson, Speier, Torres Urge GAO Review on Workplace Harassment in the Judicial Branch

November 24, 2020
Press Release
Congressional Members Seek Information on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Protections for Judicial Branch Employees in Follow Up to Feb. 2020 Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence; and Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA-35), member of the House Appropriations and Rules Committees, sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a comprehensive review of the protections against sexual harassment and other forms of workplace misconduct available to federal judicial branch employees.

“In recent years, the extent to which judicial branch employees are protected from workplace harassment — including sexual harassment, other forms of discrimination including racial discrimination, and retaliation — has been the subject of persistent Congressional oversight,” the Members wrote. “However, concerns remain as to whether there are adequate safeguards in place to protect employees from and facilitate redress for workplace misconduct. We ask GAO to review the judicial branch’s current efforts to stop workplace sexual harassment and other forms of workplace discrimination and retaliation.”

The letter requests GAO to examine to what extent the Judicial Branch has implemented and provided oversight of its policies for addressing incidents of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace; whether and how the Judicial Branch tracks complaints and investigations of workplace misconduct; and the extent to which perpetrators are held accountable. The Members have requested GAO’s efforts include outreach, to the extent possible, to victims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace misconduct.

Chairman Johnson held a hearing on the issue in February.

To read the full letter, click HERE.

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