The Free Speech Rights of Off-Duty Government Employees
59 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2013
Date Written: 2011
The Court’s jurisprudence with public employee speech rights leaves unclear what standard applies in cases where employees challenge government action taken in response to their “off-duty” expression. There remain so many flexible and undefined aspects to the multi-step inquiry the Court has fashioned for determining the scope of employee speech rights. When is an employee speaking as a “citizen” and not an “employee”? What is a matter of public concern, and is that inquiry even relevant in the context of off-duty expression? What speech is “work related”? How do we value the employee’s interest in engaging in her expression? How do make sense of the endless reasons government employees can give for wanting to suppress or punish that expression?
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