On Thursday, June 27, 2024, NBC4 reported that Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Kimberly Cocroft filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging racism and harassment during her time as administrative judge of the court.

According to the report, Judge Cocroft said she had been subjected to discrimination based on her race and gender as well as a hostile work environment and retaliation over the course of her year-long term as administrative judge, which oversees the operations of the 17-judge Franklin County court.

In December 2021, just before taking on the administrative role, Judge Cocroft said two white male judges had approached her with criticism that she was “unapproachable” and “not friendly,” using negative stereotypes often directed at Black women. She said they proceeded to give her a list of prominent Black female politicians and told her she needed to be more like them.

As an administrative judge, Cocroft alleged some court reporters were rude and condescending to her in meetings. She also claimed her personnel decisions were questioned and that staff refused to properly train new employees she brought on, hampering their ability to do their jobs.

At one meeting, Judge Cocroft said a white male judge had made inappropriate and insensitive comments about women. Additionally, the court administrator filed a complaint against Judge Cocroft, accusing her of creating a stressful work environment through constant criticism and undermining employees.

About a year into her term, Judge Cocroft said another judge had told her of the complaint against her and advised the issue would be dropped if she resigned her position. She refused and requested a private meeting, but said the other judges instead called a group meeting to pressure her to resign, telling her she needed to “grow up” and “act like an adult.” She ultimately stepped down from the administrative role.

Judge Cocroft maintained in the EEOC complaint that the discrimination, mistreatment of her staff, and harassment continued even after her resignation. With the other judges declining to comment or investigate, she is now asking the EEOC to look into her claims of racism and harassment during her time as administrative judge of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.



Source: NBC4