No Love for Scabby the Rat from the Seventh Circuit

By Lindsay Hesketh In early 2014, a union protest began in a small town.  On its second day, a town code enforcement officer took issue with one notorious protester—Scabby the Rat, an inflatable 6- to 25-foot rat balloon symbolizing union protests—which was staked into the ground on a public right-of-way.  The officer instructed the union […]

CCRC Gets Benchslapped

By Mercedes Pineda Most everyone watching the news these days has heard of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which challenges the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling that a baker broke the law when he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on account of his own devoutly Christian beliefs.  The case presents a […]

Public Employment for Motorcycle Gangs

By Bill Wright A public employer – an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of youth offenders – will face trial over its termination of a motorcycle gang member. In Godwin v. RVYCF, No. 1:12-cv-00478-CL (9th Cir. Aug. 10, 2016), a public employer discharged an employee for coming to work wearing his colors for a motorcycle […]

Facebooker–Good Citizen or Fired?

By Doug Towns and Lori Wright Keffer Can an employee’s Facebook post be grounds for termination? The Fifth Circuit says, “Yes.” Graziosi v. City of Greenville Mississippi, No. 13-60900 (5th Cir. January 9, 2015).  A police officer posted on her Facebook page and on the Mayor’s Facebook page criticizing the Police Chief for not sending […]

Supremes Rule That Trial Speech is Protected Speech – Part II

Click here to read Part I. By John Alan Doran The Supreme Court previously ruled in Garcetti that a prosecutor’s internal memorandum written in the course of his job responsibilities did not constitute protected speech because he was speaking as a government employee pursuant to his job responsibilities, and not as a public citizen.  The […]

Supremes Rule That Trial Speech is Protected Speech – Part 1

By John Alan Doran This morning the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision affecting public employers and employee First Amendment rights to free speech.  Lane v. Franks et al., No. 13-483 (U.S. June 19, 2014) Central Alabama Community College (CACC) hired Edward Lane to run a city youth program.  Lane audited the youth program, learned […]