The First Amendment protects speech—to engage in information sharing, questioning, and conversation. While the right to engage in free speech is granted to Americans, once employed by a governmental entity; the right is limited. Governmental entities are responsible for hiring and managing employees to carry out tasks. Thus, there is a legitimate interest in safe, efficient and effective completion of job duties. Accordingly, a government employer may make and enforce policies and procedures and alter the terms of employment as necessary to avoid substantial disruption to safe, effective and efficient operations that may be caused by an employee’s speech.
Public employees retain a First Amendment right to engage in speech about matters of public concern.
Governmental employers, however, have the right to limit speech of employees as necessary to carry out public services in a safe, efficient and effective manner.
What is speech and when is it protected
Whether the speech at issue can be lawfully managed through policies and progressive discipline