Free Speech Right Defined and Explained
The Supreme Court outlined the test for First Amendment protection of government employees' speech in Pickering v. Board of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 ('68).3 min read
Free Speech Right
The Supreme Court outlined the test for First Amendment protection of government employees' speech in Pickering v. Board of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 ('68). To receive protection, the speech must be on a matter of public concern, and the employee's interest in expressing herself on this matter must not be outweighed by any injury that the speech could cause to the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees.
Id. at 572-74; Waters v. Churchill, 114 S.Ct. 1878, 84 ('94)
'Whether an employee's speech addresses a matter of public concern must be determined by the content, form, and context of a given statement, as revealed by the whole record.' Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 147-48 ('83). This is a question of law. Id. at 148 n.7. 'Speech focused solely on internal policy and personnel grievances does not implicate the First Amendment.' Hyland v. Wonder, 972 F.2d 1129, 37 (9th Cir.'92), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 2337 ('93). We review de novo whether Lambert's speech is a matter of 'public concern.' Id. at 1134. Connick, at 141 (not a matter of public concern).