Monday, February 21, 2005

Speech is Not Always Free - Can Cost a Job

As a follow up to our blog of yesterday, in which we touched on freedom of speech issues in the workplace, here's a case where the Court found that a government employee went too far (even on his off time) and could be terminated for "speech" that was not found to be constitutionally protected.

In City of San Diego v. Roe, No. 03-1669 (USSC 12/06/04) the U.S. Suprme Court found that the termination of a police officer, for selling videotapes of himself engaging in sexually explicit acts, does not violate his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of speech: The Court stated:

“ … there is no difficulty in concluding that [the employee's] expression does not qualify as a matter of public concern under any view of the public concern test . . . The speech in question was detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer. There is no basis for finding that it was of concern to the community as the Court's cases have understood that term in the context of restrictions by governmental entities on the speech of their employees.”

Here's an example of the Court's finding that even though freedom of speech is protected, not all speech is protected, whether in the workplace or on the employee's own time.

You can read the whole case at: