Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

37th International Convention - Chicago, IL (2006)

Free Speech for Public Employees

Resolution No. 60
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL

The United States Supreme Court by a narrow margin on May 30, 2006, held that when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they have NO First Amendment rights to free speech in the workplace; and

Justice David Souter in a dissenting opinion pointed out that local, state and federal rules and regulations protecting free speech are an uneven patchwork that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; and

Justice Souter warned that “federal employees have been held to be unprotected for statements made in connection with normal employment duties;” and

Justice Souter additionally pointed out that federal employees are NOT protected “for disclosures made to immediate supervisors;” and

Justice Souter further pointed out that “current case law requires [a federal] employee complaining of retaliation to show ‘irrefragable proof’ that the person criticized was not acting in good faith and in compliance with the law;” and

It is common knowledge that public workers in the federal government and in state and local government throughout the United States are regularly victimized for calling attention to fraud, waste and corruption or for loyally upholding Constitutional principals in the face of adamant employer resistance, and current laws do not provide sufficient protection.

That the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, vigorously support legislation to provide truly meaningful protections for federal employees who speak out responsibly at work or in any other place; and
That AFSCME work to improve state and local laws, rules and regulations protecting the responsible speech of all public employees throughout the Nation.
SUBMITTED BY: Stu Smith, President
Elaine Snyder, Secretary
AFSCME Local 2830, Council 26
Washington, DC