Constitutional issues appear more easily with government employees than with private employees. Constitutional rights apply against the government and rarely against private employers. Still, there are limits to constitutional protections for government employees. The Indiana Lawyer reports on a recent case from the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals:
In Gregory G. Samuelson v. LaPorte Community School Board, et al., No. 06-4351, Gregory Samuelson filed an action under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 against his employer LaPorte Community School Corporation (LSC), alleging violations of the First and 14th Amendments, and the Indiana Constitution, following his removal by the school board as coach of the girls' varsity basketball team.
The 7th Circuit affirmed the ruling, finding Samuelson's First Amendment rights were not violated because the school corporation's chain-of-command policy doesn't constitute prior restraint because it doesn't restrict speech protected by the First Amendment. The speech addressed in the policy is speech grounded in the public employee's professional duties and is not protected, wrote Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook.
Samuelson couldn't present concrete evidence to show his contract as basketball coach wasn't renewed as a result of his circumventing the chain-of-command policy on various school-related issues, so summary judgment on his claim in favor of LSC was correct, wrote Chief Judge Easterbrook.