The ideals set forth in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights encapsulate what it means to be an American citizen: freedom. However, this freedom is not absolute. ince its inception, the judicial system has placed limits on this freedom in order to balance the freedom of speech of some against the freedoms of life, liberty, and happiness of others. One area in which these limits have been placed concerns the Freedom of Speech of public employees. The Supreme Court has issued rulings which have sought to find a balance between the rights of the employee and the rights of the employer. In attempting to find this balance, the Court has dissected the public employee into two distinct personas: employee and citizen. The Court has failed to recognize that there are specific times when employee speech cannot be separated from citizen speech, namely in giving sworn truthful testimony. The following analysis tracks the historical jurisprudence of the First Amendment free speech rights of public employees to determine the current constitutional protections for public employees who provide sworn truthful testimony as part of their official job duties. This analysis will also suggest a judicial and administrative rule that should be implemented to ensure that public employees are protected when giving testimony on behalf of their employers.
"To Tell the Truth: Public Employee First Amendment Rights in Providing Testimony,"
SPNHA Review: Vol. 17
, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/spnhareview/vol17/iss1/8