Public Employees, Private Speech

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: May 15, 2017
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  • McAuliffe v. New Bedford (1892)
  • Pickering v. Board of Education (1968)
  • Connick v. Myers (1983)
  • Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006)
  • Lane v. Franks (2014)
  • Liverman v. City of St. Petersburg
  • Buker v. Howard County - firefighter case
  • Munroe v. Central Bucks School District (2015)
  • Unique Issues in Police speech
Runtime: 1 hour and 31 minutes
Recorded: May 15, 2017


Due to the public nature of their jobs, government employees face increased scrutiny of their speech and expression by their employers. High-profile controversies over police shootings, promotions, racial profiling, attacks on law enforcement and racebased encounters have led to a sharp increase in public employees being disciplined for publicly posting commentary deemed offensive or incendiary. Public employees have been suspended for speaking out on issues including such as supporting the shooting of police officers, lauding police officers for shooting citizens, criticizing their students or co-workers, and mocking minorities or religions.

Join us as we examine the balancing act of what is protected speech after the Supreme Court cases of Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006) and Lane v. Franks (2014), and learn the resulting lessons for lawyers and public employees.

This program was recorded on May 15th, 2017.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Paul Michael Secunda

Professor of Law
Marquette University Law School

At Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Professor Secunda teaches employee benefits law, labor law, employment discrimination law, employment law, education law, civil procedure, and trusts and estates. He is the Director of Marquette Law School's Labor and Employment Law Program and faculty advisor for the student Labor and Employment Law Society. He is also the founder and faculty advisor of the Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Review, which began publication in 2015.

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis appointed Professor Secunda to a three-year term on the U.S. Department of Labor's ERISA (employee benefits law) Advisory Council, effective January 2013. Former Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez appointed him to serve as the Chairman of the Council for calendar year 2015.

Professor Secunda received the Senior Fulbright Scholar Award for 2015-2016 to study Australian workplace retirement law (superannuation) at Melboure University Law School. He was a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law School, teaching in their Masters of Law program both international employment law and comparative superannuation (workplace retirement plan) law. He was again a Senior Fellow at Melbourne Law in March 2017. Professor Secunda's previous international research and teaching experiences have included: visiting professor at the Universite de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense during June 2011, visiting professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School during the summer and fall 2011 semesters, the 2012 Hicks Morley Visiting Professor of International Labour Law at The Western Ontario Faculty of Law, and visiting professor of law for the part-time LLM Comparative Law Program and visiting scholar at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. He was a visiting scholar at Hong Kong Polytechnic University in May of 2016.

Professor Secunda writes extensively on employee benefits (with emphasis on study of the international and comparative aspects of workplace retirement plans), labor law, employment law (with emphasis on the constitutional rights of public employees), employment discrimination law, and education law (with emphasis on special education law). His research tends to take an international and comparative law focus on the retirement and health benefit rights of U.S. employees in comparison to other countries, the constitutional rights of public employees, the organizational and collective bargaining rights of public and private sector employees, and the rights of special education children. His recent law review articles on these topics have appeared, among other publications, in the UCLA, Washington University, Notre Dame, Indiana, Illinois, Florida State, Fordham, San Diego, Colorado, Hastings, and Wisconsin Law Reviews; his essays have been published in the online journals at Yale, Penn, Northwestern, and UCLA. His articles have been cited and discussed in many top law reviews, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Review, and NYU Law Review, among others.

Professor Secunda is also the author of a number of current books, including: Understanding Employment Law (with Rick Bales and Jeff Hirsch); Global Issues in Employee Benefits Law (with Samuel Estreicher and Rosalind Connor); Mastering Employment Discrimination Law (with Jeff Hirsch and Joe Seiner); Labor Law: A Problem-Based Approach (with Jeff Hirsch and Michael Duff); and Mastering Labor Law (with Jeff Hirsch, Joseph Slater and Anne Lofaso).

Professor Secunda is the past national Chair of three Sections of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS): Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, Labor Relations and Employment Law, and Employment Discrimination Law. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute (ALI). He is also a former editor of the Workplace Prof Blog, a member of the executive board of the U.S. Branch of the International Society for Labor and Social Security Law, an advisory board member of the Tax and Employee Benefit Law Center at John Marshall Law School, and the Team Leader of the International Best Practices Team of the United Kingdom Transparency Taskforce. Professor Secunda has co-authored numerous amicus briefs in employee benefit, labor, and employment law cases, including the Tibble, Lane and Dudenhoeffer cases, and is a frequent presenter and commentator internationally and domestically on labor, employment, benefits, pension, and education law issues. You can find him also on Twitter @psecundawrkprof, where he discusses, and links to, current developments in workplace, employee benefits, and education law.

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