The Protection of Federal Employees' First Amendment Rights
Posted By The Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service || 1-Mar-2017
Debra D’Agostino, a federal employment attorney and co-founder of the Federal Practice Group, was recently featured on Nextgov.com, discussing free speech protections for federal employees. Although the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendment of 2014 mandates that federal officials make copies of government-related communication sent over private emails, that does not mean they forfeit their right to free speech. “Retaliation for protected speech is illegal,” D’Agostino stated.
Employees may be concerned that requirements to archive government-related communication could result in retaliation, but it is important for them to understand their speech is protected, even if it involves an expression of discord. If, for example, a federal employee discusses work while on a break and through a private device, that speech is protected. Even whistleblowing is afforded some protection.
When it comes to the recent National Park Service rogue Twitter accounts that recently sprung up as part of a budding resistance, the law can become less cut and dry if it turns out that the owners are federal employees. In an environment such as this, with an aggressive administration that is steeped in volatility, D’Agostino explained, “Now more than ever, it’s important for federal employees to know when their communications are protected by the First Amendment and when they’re not.”
The Federal Practice Group has a team of lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience and are focused on maintaining strong client-attorney relationships. The legal rights of federal employees are unlike the rights of private sector employees and, as such, you will need an attorney who understands the inner-workings of federal agencies and their administrative processes. Our firm can provide the exceptional legal counsel you need to address your case professionally.
Call us today for a case evaluation at (202) 862-4360.