Michael Vargas wrote an article for San Jose Spotlight about the right to free speech for public employees, and how “the reach of government regulation has been slowly creeping into more and more private conduct.” Read the article.

“The general rule is that, as a public employee, you are only entitled to First Amendment protection for speech you make as a private citizen about a matter of public concern, and that does not interfere with your job. The Supreme Court has called this standard a “practical” inquiry, but critics have decried the decision as “confusing” and likely to suppress a broad range of speech necessary to self-government, including whistleblowing.

Santa Clara County has been a hotbed of these disputes lately, and the situations involved illustrate how subjective the First Amendment’s public employee exceptions can be.”