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Supreme Court revisits First Amendment protection for public workers

Supreme Court re-visited whether the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they offer testimony about corruption and government misconduct

This week, the Supreme Court re-visited whether the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they offer testimony about corruption and government misconduct. It stems from the case surrounding Edward Lane who was fired in 2008 because he testified truthfully on how an Alabama state lawmaker was a no-show employee and was being paid by taxpayers to work after he performed an audit of the program he headed. A decision is expected by June.

Back in 2006, Lane oversaw an alternative to incarceration program for juvenile offenders that was run out of the Central Alabama Community College and received public funding. Once Lane testified about the corruption, he was fired by the college’s president.  According to the L.A. Times, last year, Lane lost his free-speech lawsuit against the college president who had dismissed him after the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that under the 2006 Supreme Court precedent, which Lane was not protected. 

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Alexis Harrison

Alexis Harrison is a Connecticut-based writer and public relations professional whose career spans both print journalism and broadcast news. Alexis started her professional life as...

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