Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

First Amendment Protects Sex Discrimination Complaint Against State Police

The plaintiff, who runs an automobile towing company, said that a Highway Patrol official retaliated against her by removing her from the Patrol's towing referral list because she had filed a sex discrimination complaint with a state agency.

At 770-71: "Although historically the right of 'petition' was confined to seeking legislative or judicial relief," the Supreme Court has held it also applies to administrative agencies and indeed to "all departments of the Government... [T]he California Transport case clearly establishes that the submission of complaints and criticisms to nonlegislative and nonjudicial public agencies like a police department constitutes petitioning activity protected by the petition clause."

The court declines to read into the petition clause the "public concern" test applied in public employee cases. California Transport's holding clearly extends to private business interests. The concern in Connick for workplace disruption does not apply to someone who is not a government employee but a citizen offering services to a state agency. There is no authority in the Sixth Circuit for the notion that petitioning activity of public employees is limited to matters of public concern. See: Gable v. Lewis, 201 F.3d 769 (6th Cir. 2000).

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Gable v. Lewis