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Government Employees: Clarifying Your Right to Free Speech

Picture of American freedom of speech people with flag
Group of American activists is protesting

If you work for the government, do you have a First Amendment right to speak out without fear of retribution?  You may.  Just yesterday, the United States Supreme Court in Lane v. Franks, et al., 134 S.Ct. 2369, 2014 WL 2765285 U.S. (2014), further clarified a government employee’s First Amendment rights.

Essentially, if you, as a government employee, engage in speech on issues that are a matter of public concern (not a personal or private concern)something of a political, social or other concern to the community or of news interest—based on information learned in your job, you may be protected under the First Amendment.  For example, in Lane, the Court found that providing truthful testimony pursuant to a subpoena regarding information learned as part of a governmental employee’s job was protected speech.


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