December 18, 2014 – Professor Eugene Volokh was interviewed by WFAE-90.7 FM, Charlotte’s National Public Radio station, about the firing of a city employee over a Facebook post and the First Amendment rights of public workers.
If Eschert worked for a private employer, she wouldn’t have a free speech case here since the First Amendment only applies to the government. But even though she has that protection, it’s not absolute.
“I’m inclined to say the employee has a pretty strong case here, but when it comes to the government acting as an employer the legal rules are quite vague,” says UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh.
“The Supreme Court has agreed that, on the one hand, the government doesn’t have a free hand in restricting speech by its employees. That any such restrictions would unduly interfere with public debate and democratic self-government and the marketplace of ideas,” says Volokh. “On the other hand, the court has said but, of course, the government may in some measure restrict speech in order to protect its efficiency.”
Listen to the story.