Ex-law clerk who told Congress judge fired her over pregnancy loses appeal
LIT’s Comment About Nate Raymond’s Article (Reuters) – It’s one-sided and lacks detail of the pertinent facts by Caitlyn Clark (see video clips below).
MAR 18, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAR 23, 2022
A former law clerk to a federal judge in Georgia who told a Congressional panel on Thursday that she was fired because of her pregnancy was instead terminated because of her “tardy” work, a federal appellate court’s review panel concluded.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ Judicial Council issued a 75-page ruling shortly before Caitlyn Clark went before a U.S. House of Representatives panel to urge Congress to extend statutory civil rights protections to the judiciary’s employees.
Clark told a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee that the judiciary’s system for handling misconduct complaints was “broken,” as evidenced by her case over her firing by Senior U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal in Macon, Georgia.
Clark, who was represented in the case by Michelle Cohen Levy in Florida, referenced the council’s ruling, which at the time was not public, briefly in her testimony. She said it was handed down Thursday morning and that the process was “unfair.”
Royal did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Clark alleged that after revealing her pregnancy in January 2020, Royal’s career law clerk began belittling her writing, and the judge told her:
“While clerking may be a good ‘mommy job,’ work still has to be done.'”
She said Royal fired her 10 days before giving birth, prompting Clark to in February 2021 file a formal complaint against the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, alleging harassment, retaliation and discrimination.
She did not sue, but pursued a claim through the judiciary’s internal employee dispute resolution process, in which misconduct claims against judges are reviewed by other members of the judiciary.
The judiciary’s 30,000 employees lack the same protections afforded to private sector and other federal workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Legislation to extend those rights to them is pending.
In Thursday’s decision, a 15-member Judicial Council panel upheld a judge’s earlier conclusion that Royal had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason to terminate Clark — “her unsatisfactory job performance.”
The panel said she had been “seriously tardy” in drafting a “high priority” opinion in a criminal case, missing a deadline Royal set by almost two months for what he considered a “straightforward” assignment.
It said her work suffered other problems, including a backlog of motions, and that “none of the evidence in the record points to any animus by Judge Royal against a pregnant employee.”