EPIC Amicus: Public Employees Must Be Able to Speak Freely on Social Media, “the Modern Public Square”

May 7, 2019

In an amicus brief EPIC urged the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to protect the right of public employees to speak on matters of public concern on social media without fear of dismissal. The case, Carr v. Department of Transportation, concerns a state employee who was fired for comments posted to a Facebook group criticizing local school bus drivers. EPIC explained that "social media is 'the modern public square' for debate on issues of public concern," citing the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Packingham v. North Carolina, in which EPIC also filed an amicus. EPIC warned that "allowing the Government to fire a public employee for posts made in a private Facebook group would encourage government supervisors to surveil employees across social media." EPIC has frequently argued that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to engage in activities free from government surveillance, in cases including City of Los Angeles v. Patel, Doe v. Reed, and Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra.

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