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Supreme Court rules public employee’s sworn testimony is protected

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

by Hera S. Arsen, Ogletree Deakins

On June 19, declaring that “pub­­lic employees do not renounce their citizenship when they accept employment,” the U.S. Supreme Court held that the First Amend­­ment protects a public employee’s truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena.

Justice Sonya Sotomayor delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. She wrote that the issue turned on whether the employee’s speech was made pursuant to his job duties or whether the “employee spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern.”

The Court found that the employee’s testimony in this case was made as a citizen on a matter of public concern and that “public employers may not condition employment on the relinquishment of constitutional rights.” (Lane v. Franks, No. 13-483, U.S. Supreme Court 2014)

Firing, investigation, testimony

The case stemmed from the firing of a community college employee, Edward Lane. During an audit, Lane discovere...(register to read more)

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