As a government employee, you still have a First Amendment right to speak out on important issues. However, your government employer also has an interest in promoting an effective and efficient workplace. In this guide, we break down your speech rights under the Constitution. As a general matter, if you are speaking

  1. as a private citizen,
  2. about a matter of public concern, and
  3. your speech does not interfere with your job,

your speech is protected.

However, there are exceptions. You can use the flowchart inside this guide to help you figure out whether or not particular types of speech are likely to be legally protected.

This guide does not provide specific legal advice, but rather provides an overview of this complex area of law. If you believe your rights have been violated, contact your agency’s Inspector General, or the ACLU!