Court Worker Fails to Show Judge Misconduct

     (CN) – A federal judge will not face “groundless” misconduct claims related to alleged threats he made after firing two court employees, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday.
     Because the complaint to the Judicial Council is sealed, the 9th Circuit ruling does not name the judge or his accusers.
     The worker who complained is a third party who took issue with how the judge allegedly fired two workers.
     After firing the employees, the U.S. District Court judge allegedly characterized their departure as voluntary, He also allegedly threatened to fire anyone who talked to the former employees, and “told one of the employees that he would disclose the employee’s performance issues to prospective employers,” according to the claims summarized by the 9th Circuit.
     Chief Judge Alex Kozinski found that the charges did not amount to legitimate misconduct on the part of the judge.
     “Even if complainant’s allegations were true, they don’t amount to misconduct,” he wrote. “Giving employees the option of voluntary separation in lieu of termination isn’t uncommon or improper. It is often beneficial to the employee who can avoid the taint of an involuntary separation, and saves the employer the time, trouble and delay of a grievance. This is a useful management tool, not misconduct.”
     Kozinski added that limiting employee conversations is a “legitimate management prerogative,” and that “it is not misconduct to let employees know that their performance will be reported to prospective employers.”

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