Public Employees First Amendment

News & Analysis as of

Public Employer May Not Retaliate Against Employee Based on Perception that He Engaged in Political Activity

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court held that a public employee could sue his employer for retaliation where the employer demoted him for engaging in constitutionally-protected political activity, even though the employer was...more

Supreme Court Expands First Amendment Protections For Public Employees

On April 26, 2016, the United States Supreme Court ruled that when a public employer demotes an employee out of a desire to prevent that employee from engaging in First Amendment protected activity, the employee can challenge...more

Supreme Court: Government Employer’s Incorrect Belief About Employee’s Activity Matters in First Amendment Analysis

A government employer can violate an employee’s constitutional rights by acting based on incorrect information that, if true, would violate the U.S. Constitution, even though the employee was not actually exercising his or...more

Supreme Court Update: Bank Markazi V. Peterson (14-770) And Heffernan V. City Of Paterson (14-1280)

After the deluge of cases last week, the Court took a breather and issued only one decision this week. However, eagle-eyed Update aficionados may remember that we still owe you one decision from last week. With that in mind,...more

Perception Is Everything: Supreme Court Expands First Amendment Protections for Public Employees

In a decision that may expand the "zone of interest" protected by the First Amendment via 42 U.S.C. §1983, the Supreme Court in Heffernan v. City of Paterson, strengthened free speech rights for public employees by holding a...more

The Supreme Court – April 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in one case on April 26, 2016: - Heffernan v. City of Paterson, No. 14-1280: Petitioner Jeffrey Heffernan was a police officer in Paterson, New Jersey. Heffernan...more

Supreme Court Decides Heffernan v. City of Paterson

On April 26, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Heffernan v. City of Paterson, No. 14-1280, holding government employees who are demoted because their employer believes they are engaging in constitutionally protected political...more

Perceived Political Expression Protected By First Amendment, Supreme Court Says

In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court today held that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects both actual and perceived political speech and expression by public employees. The unsurprising decision squares with...more

From The Jaws Of Defeat, Public Unions Snatch Lucky Victory

For many years, unions representing public employees in a variety of states have continued to require employees to pay union dues even if they have an objection to certain political, lobbying, or other activities the unions...more

Split Supreme Court Upholds Union Agency Fees...for Now

On March 29, 2016, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a decision permitting public-sector unions to continue collecting “agency fees” from nonmember workers. This is a major victory for public sector unions, as a...more

Supreme Court Tie Leaves Public Sector Agency Shops In Place...For Now

On March 29, 2016, in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence decision affirming, by a 4-4 vote, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision in a case challenging the...more

Public Sector Unions Dodge a Bullet on Non-Member Fees

Public sector union officials and their allies will breathe easier as a challenge to the collection of “agency fees” from non-members was rejected by a deadlocked United States Supreme Court earlier this week. In a per curiam...more

Divided Supreme Court Allows Public Unions’ Agency Fee Collection to Continue

In a much anticipated case, an evenly divided U.S. Supreme Court has issued a per curiam order letting stand a Court of Appeals decision that allows unions to collect dues from public employees, even if those employees do not...more

Supreme Court Hands Labor Unions a Reprieve

In the second split decision since the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court gave organized labor a status quo victory in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association on Tuesday. The case was brought by...more

The Supreme Court - March 2016 #5

The Supreme Court of the United States issued one per curiam decision on March 29, 2016: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assn., No. 14-915: Petitioner Rebecca Friedrichs and other public school teachers in California...more

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Public Union Fees: Still Valid But No Further Guidance

On March 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a per curiam opinion in a case on the validity of public-sector “agency shop” arrangements, which permit unions to charge a fee (in order to pay for select...more

Never Mind! Supreme Court Splits on Public Employee Union Fee Case

The Supreme Court today issued a decision in one of the most anticipated cases of the session on whether public employees could be forced to pay fees to a union that they didn’t want to belong to. And in doing so, the...more

The Deadly 4-4 SCOTUS Split: What Happens in the Wake of Justice Scalia's Death

With the Supreme Court coming out of recess today, the practical implications of Justice Scalia's death will become more apparent. Justice Scalia's death last week has a tremendous impact on the upcoming sessions of the...more

Ch-Ch-Changes? Mandatory Fees for Public Employees At Issue Before the Supreme Court

First things first. My favorite David Bowie song is “Heroes” (though I remember really being struck by its use in the 2001 movie, Moulin Rouge). But the song that comes to mine today for various reasons is “Changes” and...more

Court Dismisses Police Officers’ Class Action Complaint Regarding Anti-Tattoo Policy

In a recent order in Medici, et al. v. City of Chicago, Case No. 15 C 5891, 2015 WL 6501153 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2015), Judge Charles P. Kocoras of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a...more

Pending Supreme Court Case Could Affect Collection of Public Employee Union Agency Shop Fees

Recently, the United States Supreme Court commenced a new session with a docket full of interesting cases. One case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is of particular significance to those in the field of...more

U.S. Supreme Court’s October 2015 Term Promises Slew of Significant Labor and Employment Cases

Each year, the U.S. Supreme Court begins its term on the first Monday in October. Although known as the “October Term,” the term in fact continues, alternating between two-week “sittings” and “recesses,” until late June or...more

Supreme Court Update: Maryland V. Kulbicki (14-848) And Order List

… und willkommen zurück! Oktober Term 2015 kicks off today with argument in OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs (13-1067), a case which explores the contours of the commercial-activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign...more

Lessons Employers Can Learn from Kentucky Clerk’s Same-Sex Marriage License Dispute

Almost every day the news carries an additional story about Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who has defied the Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Kim Davis story may be...more

Supreme Court Update: Glossip V. Gross (15-7955) And Order List

We're back with our final Update of OT14, covering Glossip v. Gross (15-7955), a doubly divisive death-penalty case, and providing a roundup of the Court's orders over the last few weeks. (Did you think we'd forgotten about...more

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