The case is Connolly v. City of Rutland, a summary order decided on November 5. Years ago, federal judges in the Second Circuit held that the First Amendment prohibited employers from firing public employees who filed civil rights cases against their employers. But if you follow First Amendment retaliation cases in the Second Circuit (and around the country) you know that public employee speech rights have dwindled over the last decade or so.
Connolly's initial lawsuit alleged that the City violated her due process rights under the Constitution in terminating her employment. Although it is not clear in the Second Circuit or district court opinions, Connolly was somehow retaliated against by the Town after filing that lawsuit. She claimed the First Amendment protected her from retaliation for bringing the lawsuit because it raised "a matter of public concern," the legal standard for protected speech by public workers. But the lawsuit does not raise a matter of public concern. While Connolly tries to satisfy this test by arguing that the due process case highlights the way the City manages its affairs, that argument doesn't cut it these days. The district court wrote:
Nearly every public employee lawsuit against his employer will in some way implicate the public budget or personnel policies or some other matter of esoteric interest to the community. But you need more than that to show the lawsuit raised a matter of public concern. The district court said,