Can I be fired for refusing to lie about something at work?
Not in the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit court of appeals, in Jackler v. Byrne, recently ruled in favor of a police officer who claimed that he was fired for filing a truthful report about another officer who had committed an act of excessive force. While this set of facts may sound like a clear violation of the law, it really wasn’t. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006). In that case, a statement in a prosecutor’s report was not considered protected speech because it was made pursuant to her duties. The employer in Jackler argued that the plaintiff’s report was made pursuant to his duties and therefore not protected.
The Second Circuit disagreed, thus limiting the application of Garcetti. For a more detailed discussion of this issue, see Attorney Hayber’s Blog Post.
This ruling should help private employees as well as public employees, since in Connecticut, we have a statute which applies the protection of the First Amendment to private employees.