Thursday, December 27, 2007
Correction Officer Discharged For Message Posted On Union Internet Message Board Does Not State 1st A. Cause of Action
Curran v. Cousins, ___F.3d___(1st Cir. Dec. 6, 2007), is an important First Amendment decision because it demonstrates just how narrow public employee First Amendement rights are. A corrections officer posted certain offensive comments on an Internet Union message board. The correction officer made what some feel were racist comments and terminated him. He challenged his termination on First Amendent principles and lost.
Interesting, the court found that the speech (being critical of the adminstration) was protected under Pickering, but ultimately held that the speech could be qualished. The court held that "public interest in the employee's speech was outweighed by the danger the speech would cause to the effective functioning of the Department"
This case does not a nice job of reviewing applicable law.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein