Kelly H. Kolb, shareholder in Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Labor & Employment section, was quoted in the Daily Business Review about how a lawsuit by fired attorneys in Broward County would likely go to federal court to address the issue of balancing free speech with a government agency’s duty to perform its functions. The article, titled “Fired Broward Public Defender Strikes Back Disputing Howard Finkelstein's Account,” discusses how an assistant public defender was fired on July 8 for an alleged hate speech he made on his Facebook account.
Kolb mentioned the case Lane v. Franks, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, in which Edward Lane sued his employer for retaliation after Lane testified under subpoena about events leading to the firing of a state representative. The question was whether Lane’s testimony was that of an employee performing public duties.
"The analysis is the same," Kolb says. "Are they speaking as employees or as citizens? Was it a matter of public concern, and can the government demonstrate their speech was likely to interfere with the ability of the public defender's officer to perform its functions?"
Read the full article – “Fired Broward Public Defender Strikes Back Disputing Howard Finkelstein's Account” (Daily Business Review, July 17, 2014)