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Bergen Vicinage Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action Program

The Master Plan & Vicinage Plan

In May of 2000 and updated June of 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved the Judiciary EEO/AA Master Plan.  The Master Plan contains a message from the Hon. Richard J. Williams, Administrative Director of the Courts.  The following is an excerpt from his message:

The New Jersey Judiciary is dedicated to the principles and goals of fairness, equality, courtesy, and respect for all individuals.  These are the cornerstones of activities and operations in the court system and embody the Judiciary’s commitment to equality under law and fairness in the administration of justice.  As an employer, the Judiciary is committed to the principles of fairness and equality of opportunity in the workplace, as reflected in this EEO/AA Master Plan that applies to employees, applicants for employment, volunteers, and other members of the public who may come into contact with the court system. Critical elements of the Master Plan include a strong policy prohibiting discriminatory acts and practices in the workplace, managerial accountability for ensuring fairness in hiring and promotion, internal complaint procedures, a commitment to employee education and training, and ongoing outreach efforts to raise awareness among minorities and women about employment opportunities in the courts.

The EEO/AA Master Plan required each vicinage to create a Vicinage EEO/AA Implementation Plan.  This was completed in June of 2001 and updated March of 2015.  The Vicinage Plan contains a message from former Assignment Judge Hon. Sybil R. Moses.  The following is excerpted from her message:

The Bergen Vicinage Implementation Plan is tailored to meet the specific needs of our vicinage.  The goal of this plan is to ensure fairness and equality of opportunity for all employees, court users, volunteers, litigants, witnesses, and all others who come in contact with our court system.

All managers and supervisors must lead by example by being proactive in maintaining a professional work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.

With the support of all members of our Bergen Vicinage, we shall continue to develop a workforce that meets the needs of our diverse population and provides fairness and equal opportunities for all.

The Bergen Vicinage EEO/AA Advisory Committee

The EEO/AA Advisory Committee’s charge is to provide guidance and advice.  The EEO/AA Advisory Committee will make recommendations regarding program activities to promote the development and utilization of minorities and women in the Judiciary work force.  The EEO/AA Advisory Committee will also act as an advisory body and review the Vicinage Implementation Plan and recommend improvements as needed during regularly scheduled meetings.  Employees can access either the EEO/AA Officer or a member of the EEO/AA Advisory Committee for questions or concerns about the Vicinage EEO/AA program.  The names of the current committee members are listed below:

Laura A. Simoldoni, Trial Court Administrator
Windy Bernier, HR
Carol Hansen, Criminal
Kristen Roberson, Operations
Jennifer Callaghan, Family
Yeon Ji Lee, Criminal
Juan Alvarez, Civil
Madeleine Fernandez, Civil
Ron Bell, IT
Laurie Connolly, Municipal
Sheri Owens, Probation Services
Ryan Sylvia, EEO/AA Officer
Kelly Gibson, Ombudsman

Complaint Procedures

The New Jersey Judiciary has in place procedures for filing discrimination or sexual harassment complaints against judges, non-judge Judiciary employees, attorneys, litigants, witnesses, and others who come into contact with the court system.  Employees, applicants, clients and users of the courts who have questions, problems or complaints regarding EEO, disability, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, racial / ethnic bias, hostile work environment or other categories covered by the anti-discrimination laws, may communicate their concerns to the judge or senior manager or supervisor in charge of the court unit, program, service or activity.  The complainant may also contact the Bergen Vicinage EEO/AA Officer Ryan G. Sylvia, Esq. at (201) 527-2523.  The complainant may also pursue his or her complaint in accordance with the New Jersey Judiciary’s complaint procedures.  Once a discrimination or sexual harassment complaint is received, it will be handled in accordance with the Judiciary’s complaint procedures.  These procedures can be found on the infonet, law library, and are available in Suite 425.  The complainant also has the right to use the external procedures available under state law (Division of Civil Rights) and federal law (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

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