Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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Ninth Circuit Ruling on Public Employee Free Speech Rights


Interpreting a recent Supreme Court decision on the extent to which the First Amendment protects public-employee speech, the Ninth Circuit reinstated the First Amendment retaliation claim of an Idaho school employee who contended that he had lost his job for bringing to the attention of top school administrators his principal’s failure to follow school district policies concerning school safety and security.

The court held that, under the Supreme Court’s 2006 ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos, the inquiry into whether the employee was speaking as a citizen or as an employee involved a mixed question of law and fact. Bredhoff & Kaiser represented the plaintiff on appeal. Posey v. Lake Pend Oreille School District, 546 F.3d 1121 (9th Cir. 2008).