Employer Allowed To Maintain ‘No-Rehire’ Policy

Jimmy Sain worked as a highway patrolman for the Tennessee Department of Public Safety (TDS). After deciding to run for mayor of Hardeman County, Sain resigned from his TDS position in order to comply with the Tennessee law providing that “a state or local officer or employee may not be a candidate for elective office.” Upon leaving, he met with his supervisor and the Human Resources manager for the…

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Giving Tickets Not Entitled To First Amendment Protection

Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), “where public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” Following Garcetti, dozens of courts have held unprotected by the First Amendment a variety of forms of job-related speech made by public safety employees. Zigmund…

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A Roundup Of Free Speech Cases

Reverberations from the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) continue to be felt in the area of the free speech rights of public employees. A series of recent cases shows continuing debate in the Court over when an employee’s job-related speech is protected by the First Amendment. As a general proposition, the right of a government employee to speak about matters of public concern…

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Privately-Made Statements About Morale Unprotected By First Amendment

Peter Dahl was a deputy sheriff for Rice County, Minnesota from November 1992 until the fall of 2006. During his employment with Rice County, Dahl was assigned to a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team, served as a firearms instructor, and served on a multi-jurisdictional drug task force. In August 2005, the Sheriff e-mailed Dahl to inquire about a purchase of badges that had been charged to Rice County. The Sheriff’s e-mail…

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Officer Can Be Constitutionally Forbidden From Participating In Explorer Scout Activities

Mark Frontera is a police officer with the City of Columbus, Ohio. Beginning in 1998, Frontera volunteered with the Explorer Scouts program. In 2004, the Department received a complaint that Frontera had acted inappropriately in his role as Explorer Scout advisor. The charges against Frontera included that he had allowed an Explorer Scout to spend the night at his home, that he failed to obey written orders with respect…

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