frequently asked questionscases & resources
Overview >

Balancing Act: Public Employees and Free Speech is a First Report by David L. Hudson Jr. on public employees' free-speech rights.

A fully formatted Adobe Acrobat PDF file of the printed report can be downloaded here.

Download the Acrobat file. (103 KB)

Our files are created with Adobe® Acrobat® Reader version 5.0. Click graphic to download free.


Garcetti & its aftermath: case analyses

9th Circuit: College has right to keep 'political neutrality'
By David L. Hudson Jr. Panel finds professor’s assembly rights are trumped by Clark College’s interest in not appearing to endorse WTO protests. 04.25.05

Omaha cop fired over article will get his job back
Officer drops federal lawsuit, apologizes for searing tone of his accusations against officials in his article in union newspaper. 04.30.05

Teacher attire becoming touchy topic
In some districts, teachers can get dressed down for dressing down, wearing T-shirts, see-through blouses, flip-flops and other dubious apparel. 07.05.05

Judge rules city violated policeman's free speech
Officer who placed 'Veterans Against John Kerry' sign in his truck was told to remove it. 09.19.05

3rd Circuit backs whistle-blowing doctor
Three-judge panel finds David Springer's free-speech rights were violated when he lost his job at Delaware Psychiatric Center after detailing problems there. 01.19.06

2nd Circuit: Conn. city can force police to cover tattoos
Attorney says courts are being unfair to police officers who claim First Amendment right to display spider-web image. 02.02.06

Muslim jail chaplain keeps NYC job after outburst
But Mayor Bloomberg temporarily suspends imam who denounced 'Zionists of the media,' said White House harbored terrorists. 03.17.06

State employee suspended for posting 'bad jokes' about Va. town
While at work, Will Vehrs contributed to contest on conservative blog, in which bloggers write their own captions for various photos. 05.11.06

Jury finds Del. state troopers were victims of retaliation
Three officers who had spoken out about problems at state police firing range win nearly $2 million in damages. 06.01.06

Del. troopers' $2 million retaliation victory thrown out
Federal judge finds jury verdict could not stand in light of U.S. Supreme Court's recent public-employee ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos. 08.15.06

Tribal employee's speech wasn't matter of public concern
South Dakota Supreme Court rejects First Amendment claim by woman fired after she complained that she didn't get political appointment. 12.01.06

Judge overturns demotion of Pa. police commander
First Amendment, state whistleblower law likely protect Cmdr. Catherine McNeilly, who raised concerns about Pittsburgh mayoral appointee. 01.16.07

Calif. city ordinance violates employees' free-speech rights
Federal judge rules Victorville can't bar firefighters, others from talking in private with council members about work-related grievances. 03.09.07

Garcetti strikes again: Ill. officer loses retaliation suit
By David L. Hudson Jr. 7th Circuit rejects police investigator's First Amendment claim, ruling he spoke more as employee than as citizen when he made allegations of possible corruption. 06.01.07

N.H. high court backs fired city assessor
Justices rule Claremont violated Steven Snelling's rights when it dismissed him in part because of comments he made in newspaper article. 07.23.07

Ex-professor can't sue Del. State University
Wendell Gorum had claimed he was fired in retaliation for exercising his free speech, but federal judge rules he had no First Amendment claim because he was acting as public employee. 02.18.08

Ind. mayor wants to oversee employees' press contacts
Union official accuses Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley of trying to restrict free speech. 08.14.08

Flint, Mich., police lift gag order on officers
ACLU releases letter from police chief rescinding ban on talking to news media. 09.14.08

Military whistleblowers get little help if punished
Pentagon inspector general rejects more than 90% of 3,000 cases over six years, leaving critics wondering if valid complaints are being dismissed. 11.03.08

Fired over column, Univ. of Toledo official sues
Personnel administrator's essay in Toledo Free Press online said gay rights couldn't be compared to civil rights. 12.03.08

Okla. building inspector can pursue free-speech claim
10th Circuit reinstates Ira Thomas' lawsuit, which contends he was fired after contacting state law enforcement about incident concerning permit for then-mayor's home. 12.05.08

Federal court won't dismiss former school bus driver’s retaliation suit
By David L. Hudson Jr. Driver in Connecticut was fired after raising questions about mold at her children's school. 01.05.09

Barbs from Neb. police officer ruled protected speech
State high court says inflammatory remarks Omaha cop made against city, police bosses in union newspaper shouldn't have led to his firing. 01.05.09

Mich. police officer can pursue retaliation claim
By David L. Hudson Jr. Federal judge says Jeffrey Dzierbicki can proceed with lawsuit that claims he was fired for protesting alleged targeting, treatment of daughter by other cops. 08.14.09

Fired Arabic school principal's free-speech case dismissed
Federal judge finds Debbie Almontaser was acting as administrator when she made comments to newspaper about word 'intifada' and therefore wasn't protected by First Amendment. 09.02.09

Civilian employee claims military retaliating for whistleblowing
President has promised to treat federal whistleblowers as patriots, but Franz Gayl's case points to difficulty of transforming culture, particularly within the military. 12.21.09

Cop-video ruling may hurt future speech cases
By Tony Mauro Court's emphasis on 'legitimate news interest' may have subtly weakened protection for other forms of expression. 12.07.04

High court to enter employee-speech debate
By Tony Mauro California case could give justices chance to decide if courts have gone too far in protecting government workers' speech. 03.01.05

Teacher taught Miss. schools a free-speech lesson
By David L. Hudson Jr. Bessie Givhan's 1979 Supreme Court victory still resonates in public employee free-speech cases. 06.08.06

Garcetti's palpable effect on public-employee speech
By David L. Hudson Jr. Supreme Court's ruling successfully invoked as agencies defend against critics from within. 05.29.07

9th Circuit panel rules against police officer who ran sex site
By David L. Hudson Jr. Ronald Dible argues unsuccessfully that he should not have been fired because he took pains on his Web site not to identify himself as a police officer. 02.05.08

3rd Circuit upholds damages for fired public employee
By David L. Hudson Jr. Post-Garcetti ruling in retaliation case could prove to be valuable precedent for other government workers. 04.19.08

5th Circuit reinstates Miss. jailers' job-retaliation lawsuit
By David L. Hudson Jr. Decision could affect other cases involving when employee speech is made as part of official job duties, how such determinations are made. 05.14.08

7th Circuit: High court ruling chills protections for ex-cop's speech
By David L. Hudson Jr. Appeals court's decision to reverse jury's verdict shows reach of Garcetti. 06.25.08

11th Circuit tosses Fla. man's retaliation suit
By David L. Hudson Jr. Three-judge panel rejects fired Ormond Beach worker's claim that he was speaking more as a citizen than public employee when he sent critical e-mail. 12.04.08

Deputy learns Mom was wrong, words can hurt you
By David L. Hudson Jr. 7th Circuit agrees Wisconsin sheriff's retaliation against Michael Schuh may have been 'childish,' but it was legal. 07.30.09

School employee’s retaliation claim survives Garcetti
By David L. Hudson Jr. Federal judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit, saying social worker's contacts with police, newspaper were not official job-duty speech. 09.07.09

print this   Print

Last system update: Thursday, February 11, 2010 | 17:48:26
Personal & public expression >
License plates
Fighting words
Bumper stickers
Social dancing
Political yard signs
Speaking at public meetings
Public employee speech
Fliers & leafleting
True threats
Military speech