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EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) in the Judicial Branch - An Outline of Policy and Law

NCJ Number
D B Edelman
Date Published
26 pages
This report examines the applicability of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws to court personnel systems by examining Federal EEO laws presently applicable to State and local governments, specific legal issues regarding the applicability of EEO laws to the courts, and the appropriateness of voluntary affirmative action in State and local courts.
The text outlines eight Federal EEO statutes, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended in 1972) and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It reviews briefly the current state of the law regarding inclusions and exclusions of State court employees and examines the constitutionality of application of Federal statutory sanctions to State agencies, including courts. The report notes that the suggestion that courts might be immune from the application of Federal prohibitions of employment discrimination under the common law doctrines of separation of powers or judicial immunity is not sound. The separation of powers doctrine has no application to Federal-State relations, and judicial immunity protection does not extend to matters of daily court administration, such as internal court employment practices. The report suggests that courts can avoid the coercive effect of Federal legislation or court orders and assure equal employment opportunities by establishing affirmative action plans, particularly those that are voluntary and minority-status conscious and/or sex conscious. Case law is cited, footnotes are included, and appendixes present affirmative action guidelines developed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the EEOC's policy statement on affirmative action.