U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Employment — public employment — freedom of speech
When a public employee speaks in his capacity as a union official, his speech is not within the purview of his official duties.
“It is clear from the record that Olendzki functioned outside of Garcetti strictures and spoke as a citizen in two other forums, the HSC meetings and the labor management meetings. Regular attendance at these meetings was a condition of his appointment as a union official and these forums were sanctioned by the union as a venue to allow Olendzki to voice concerns on behalf of its members. Therefore, his statements during these meetings may be entitled to First Amendment protection. Having identified the instances when Olendzki spoke as a citizen, we then turn to whether his speech during the union meetings addressed a matter of public concern.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Mills, J., Bauer, J.