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)