Filing a Complaint
In accordance with the Judicial Branch’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation, as well as federal and state anti-discrimination laws, employees in the Judicial Branch who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint.
- Employees of a Clerk of Court, the District Court, an appellate court, the AOC and other judicial entities except for Circuit Courts should file complaints with the Fair Practices Department (FPD).
- Employees of Circuit Courts (under the authority of an Administrative Judge) should file such complaints with their supervisor, manager, EEO Coordinator, or with the Administrative Judge.
The FPD is responsible for conducting and assisting investigations of alleged discrimination and harassment complaints. The FPD is also a resource for employees and applicants who have questions about how to file complaints and what types of complaints may be referred to other offices.
Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged discrimination has occurred in order to permit prompt and equitable resolution. In situations that require immediate action because of safety or other concerns, the Judiciary may take any necessary action in order to facilitate the investigation. The goal of the FPD is to complete all investigations as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible.
If you have a complaint, please complete a Complaint of Discrimination/Harassment/Retaliation form. It may also help to review the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation. Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged discrimination has occurred in order to permit prompt and equitable resolution. Generally, complaints should include:
- Complainant’s Name (individual making the complaint);
- Complainant’s Location;
- Complainant’s Department/Unit;
- Respondent’s Name (the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made);
- Respondent’s Location;
- Respondent’s Department/Unit;
- A Statement of Facts to include:
- Basis for the alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation;
- Date(s) of occurrence(s);
- Date(s) of first knowledge of the occurrence(s);
- Nature of Complaint (Specific and definite issues of fact and the factors you believe support the complaint);
- Name of witnesses (if applicable);
- Resolution sought;
- Representative (if applicable).
The form should be signed and dated by the Complainant.
The first steps of an investigation conducted by the FPD typically include a telephone intake call with a complainant and an in-person interview. The FPD typically will notify the person(s) named in the complaint (Respondent) and conduct an interview with them to address the allegations.
Other common steps in an investigation by the FPD will include interviewing witnesses, collecting documentation, and seeking any additional information necessary to determine whether or not there has been a violation of the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation.
All employees within the Judicial Branch are expected to cooperate fully with an investigation conducted under this policy or in response to any complaint or charge filed with a state or federal agency enforcing any equal employment opportunity law. Employees are also expected to provide complete and accurate information, requested documents, and any other information necessary to conduct a full investigation of the complaint.
The FPD may assist in the informal resolution of a complaint if possible. The FPD may also recommend remedial actions even if conduct does not violate the law or the Judicial Branch policy. The FPD does not take disciplinary actions on its own but may recommend remedial or disciplinary action under other relevant Judiciary policies. Investigators will typically prepare a written report of the investigation and findings. The Fair Practices Officer, the County Administrative Judge, or a designee will inform the complainant and respondent of the conclusion of the investigation.
Employees also have the right to file complaints with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at any time during an investigation. Both of these Commissions are external to the Maryland Judicial Branch and have filing deadlines which are set by state and federal law and which are not affected by internal investigations.
It is against the policies of the Judicial Branch to take retaliatory action against an employee or applicant for employment because he or she opposed an unlawful employment practice, filed a complaint, participated in any way in an investigation of an alleged unlawful employment practice, requested an accommodation, or otherwise sought the protections or entitlements of any discrimination or harassment law. It is a violation of Judicial Branch policies for anyone to knowingly make false accusations of discrimination or harassment. Failure to prove a claim is not equivalent to a false allegation.