Do federal workers have free speech rights?

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Posted by Legal Team On February 19, 2017

The right to free speech seems ingrained in the American DNA. But, it is not an absolute right, there are plenty of limits for the good of the public, to protect secrets, to stop libel and slander, and to ensure that employees don’t abuse their position in a company or organization. The right to free speech is heavily curbed when you are on another person’s time (i.e. when you are working). This means that there is a certain honor system between employers and employees and when there is an employee or boss who violates that honor system, relations can break down.

Unfortunately, it appears that may be happening within the federal government. The Trump Administration has taken several bold steps to control the speech of its employees from those in the White House to employees in nominally independent agencies.

That means that the President can severely restrict the free speech rights of federal workers when it comes to their employment duties. That even means that he can threaten them with termination if they follow through on duties to publish studies, data, or other information intended to assist the public.

You have no free speech when you are working. Once you leave your job, you are permitted to express your opinions, but you must do so in a way that makes clear they are your positions, not the companies. For certain individuals, that can mean even their off-time speech is curbed.

Do you believe that you were the victim of wrongful termination? If yes, you may want to contact an attorney ? you could have a valid claim for damages. Unfortunately, free speech against your employer is not permitted unless you are off company time (and even then, if your speech could be construed as speaking for your boss, it may still not be protected). But, just because the rules are stacked against you, that does not mean that you should give up. A lawyer can ensure that your rights are respected.