an update for the week of may 29, 2006
today's workplace: the employee rights blog
When Just Doing Your Job Lands You in Trouble : You would think all employers, and especially government employers, would want employees to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. Especially for employees whose job it is to ferret out wrongdoing, you might think that it's in the government's interest -- and taxpayers' interest as well -- to encourage those employees to do their jobs really well. Not according to a Supreme Court decision issued this week, however. The message to government employees from the Court's ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos is that if you're a public employee whose job it is to uncover wrongdoing, you better not do that too well. Because if your employer isn't happy with those efforts and decides to retaliate, you might not have much in the way of recourse.
this week in the courts
Thaeter v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office  (Eleventh Circuit; No. 03-13177)
Decision Date: May 26, 2006
Dismissal of action, brought by former deputy sheriffs for violation of free speech and association when they were terminated from employment for participating for compensation in sexually explicit photographs and videos available for paid viewing on the Internet, is affirmed where the deputies' expressive conduct does not qualify for the Pickering balancing test because it does not involve a matter of public concern and could affect the efficiency and reputation of defendant sheriff's office regarding the public.
Petruska v. Gannon Univ.  (Third Circuit; No. 05-1222)
Decision Date: May 24, 2006
Where otherwise illegal discrimination is based on religious belief, religious doctrine, or the internal regulations of a church, the First Amendment exempts religious institutions from Title VII. However, where a church discriminates for reasons unrelated to religion, the Constitution does not foreclose Title VII suits. Furthermore, in adjudicating suits that do not involve religious rationales for employment action, courts need not consider questions of religious belief, religious doctrine, or internal church regulation.
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