First Amendment topicsAbout the First Amendment
News Story
Calif. city ordinance violates employees' free-speech rights

By The Associated Press

VICTORVILLE, Calif. — A federal judge ruled that a city ordinance barring municipal employees from talking in private to City Council members about work-related grievances violates the First Amendment.

U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz said that the rule drafted to prevent employees from influencing individual council members' votes on bargaining issues was misguided.

Howard B. Golds, a lawyer for the city, said on March 6 that officials were disappointed with the judge's decision.

"We thought there was a strong purpose for the ordinance: to make sure labor negotiations occur in public," Golds said.

But Matz said in his decision that he agreed with the city's firefighters union that the ordinance "punishes a substantial amount of protected free speech with no compelling justification."

Dieter C. Dammeier, an attorney for the 120-member union, told the Los Angeles Daily Journal on March 5 that the firefighters are happy with the ruling.

"We're pleased that the court isn't going to stifle free speech," Dammeier said.

Golds said that city officials were considering drafting a new ordinance that would address the judge's objections.

The ordinance is believed to have been the only one of its type in the state.


Connecticut state police can't muzzle troopers

Federal judge tells agency it can't prevent employees from speaking on matters of public concern. 10.05.04

Head-scratching follows Garcetti ruling
By Tony Mauro Will government employees now go public with complaints, rather than to supervisors? 05.31.06

Public employee speech

News summary page
View the latest news stories throughout the First Amendment Center Online.

print this   Print

Last system update: Friday, July 25, 2008 | 04:37:46
About this site
About the First Amendment
About the First Amendment Center
First Amendment programs
State of the First Amendment

First Reports
Supreme Court
First Amendment publications
First Amendment Center history
Freedom Sings™
First Amendment

Congressional Research Service reports
Guest editorials
FOI material
The First Amendment

Lesson plans
Contact us
Privacy statement
Related links