1. Public Sector Employee Protection in Arizona

Private sector employees are subject to their employer’s rules that may directly or indirectly forbid certain speech so long as the restrictive rules are not in violation of other laws. Unlike private sector employees, public sector employees maintain free speech rights under the First Amendment based on the prohibition on the government to regulate speech. However, this constitutional protection in the public workplace is not unlimited. The right may be limited based on the public employer’s interest in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees. Thus, for the employee’s speech to be protected, the speech must touch on a matter of public concern, not a personal grievance. Speech that is made as part of routine job duties does not have First Amendment protection. 

The First Amendment rights of educators in colleges and universities are viewed under a different lens, that of Academic Freedom. Academic Freedom gives faculty members the freedom to exchange ideas on campus without the fear of censorship; the right includes freedom in research, publication, classroom lectures and discussions, and curriculum, among other faculty duties and responsibilities. 

The attorneys at Barton Mendez Soto have successfully defended this right on behalf of public sector employees and faculty. If you believe your rights have been violated in this regard, please contact us for a consultation with one of our attorneys. 

Contact our office or call (480) 418-0668 to schedule a consultation for your employment law issue. Se habla español.


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