Court limits gov't employees' speech rights

AP News
Posted: Jun 20, 2011 1:12 PM
Court limits gov't employees' speech rights

The Supreme Court has limited the First Amendment right of government employees, saying a police chief cannot sue over employer retaliation that came after he spoke out on a pay matter.

The high court on Monday overturned a ruling for former Duryea, Pa., police chief Charles Guarnieri. After Guarnieri successfully won a union grievance, city officials denied his request for overtime pay. Guarnieri contended the denial was retaliation for his union grievance, and the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his victory.

But the high court overturned that decision. The justices ruled 8-1 that government employers can take adverse actions against employees who speak out on private matters.

The case now goes back to the lower courts.

The case is the city of Duryea, Pa. v. Guarnieri, 09-1476.