Posts in Public Sector Employment.

The freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment is remarkably broad. Several categories of speech, including even “hate speech,” are afforded varying degrees of protection.

However, the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment is not without limits, even for public sector employees. Governmental employees who voice their opinions — even on matters of legitimate public concern – are well served to choose their words, as well as the times and forums in which they communicate those words, very carefully.

Just ask Michael Todd Snipes, a former law enforcement captain for the Beach Safety and Ocean Rescue Department in Volusia County, Florida. Capt. Snipes was fired for making racially insensitive comments on his Facebook page and in group text messages sent to several of his fellow officers.

In freedom of speech cases, the context in which a thought or idea is communicated often matters a great deal. Although there is never a good time to make racially insensitive remarks, Capt. Snipes’ timing was particularly ill-considered.

If you're a private sector employer, you can generally fire an at-will employee for his or her political beliefs or expression. The First Amendment, as we discussed last week, does not limit you. Depending on where you are, there may be state or local laws protecting employees from discrimination based on their political beliefs or activities, but those jurisdictions are the ...

Damon Kitchen
Damon Kitchen

Whether justified or not, the recent spate of high-profile police shooting cases throughout the United States has brought national attention to the issue of whether law enforcement officers should be using body cameras while on duty. Currently, a debate rages among the various stakeholders concerning the pros and cons of body cameras.

Those in favor of body cameras ...

This has been a weird year for me. (And, no, I'm not even thinking about the election!) But ITurkeyDrawing.flickrCC.LovelornPoets have much to be thankful for, and I hope you do, too.

BREAKING THING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Yesterday evening, the U.S. Department of Labor's new rule governing white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act was struck down by a federal judge in Texas. I'll have more on the decision ...

NOTE FROM ROBIN: This is another post from our Public Sector Industry Group. Welcome, Ray!

Ray Poole
Ray Poole

During this election season, we thought it would be timely to bring up what are commonly referred to as “resign to run” laws.  So-called "resign to run" laws require that before an elected official may run for a different (usually, higher) office, he or she must first resign from ...

NOTE FROM ROBIN: This is the second and final installment in a series on the law regarding patronage dismissals in public sector employment by Damon Kitchen, head of our public sector industry group.

Damon Kitchen
Damon Kitchen

In last week's installment, I provided an introduction to the issue of patronage dismissals in the public sector, and a discussion of the Supreme Court's Elrod (1976) and ...

NOTE FROM ROBIN: This is the first in a two-part series on the law regarding patronage dismissals in public sector employment by Damon Kitchen, head of our public sector industry group. Damon, welcome to the blog! 

Damon Kitchen
Damon Kitchen

It’s election season, and each year, like the dead leaves that fall from the trees, many loyal and long-term employees of vanquished incumbents face the ...

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
Continue Reading

Subscribe

Back to Page