Fire Department’s Email Policy Violates First Amendment

Jonathan Sprague served as a firefighter, and eventually as a captain, for the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) in Washington. During his employment, Sprague and other SVFD employees formed the Spokane County Christian Firefighter Fellowship. Sprague created a list of work email addresses for 46 firefighters that he believed were interested in the Fellowship’s activities. Sprague began using SVFD’s email system to send emails about the Fellowship’s activities. SVFD’s…

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Privacy For Personal Email And Cell Phone Records Of Public Officials

The California Court of Appeals recently issued a significant decision on whether records of communications by public officials on private email and cell phone accounts are considered to be “public records” subject to disclosure. The case involved a citizen named Ted Smith, who requested that the City of San Jose produce “any and all voicemails, emails or text messages sent or received on private electronic devices used by Mayor…

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Employer’s E-Mail Policy Discriminates On Basis Of Union Activity

The City of Saginaw, Michigan Police Department permits its employees to use the City’s e-mail system for non-work-related purposes. Daniel Kuhn is the president of the Saginaw local of the Police Officers Association of Michigan. On October 16, 2008, Kuhn used the City’s e-mail system to send his members a message about the City’s deferred compensation system. In the e-mail, Kuhn wrote the following about the general status of…

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