When a Public Employer Doesn’t like What Its Employees “Like”: Social Media and the First Amendment

Source: Tanya M. Marcum, Sandra J. Perry, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 65 no. 1, Spring 2014
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Today, many new social media forums exist including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, in which individuals can express their thoughts and opinions in many different ways. Although the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides the basic fundamental right to free speech, it is not an absolute right to free speech of any and all kinds. This is particularly true for public employees and their speech protections. When a citizen accepts employment in the government sector, that citizen may experience, due to governmental necessity, certain limitations on his or her free speech rights. This article explores these free speech limitations on a public employee’s speech and its potential impact on public employees’ use of new social media….