No More Fair Share Fees

On June 27, 2018, the United State Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME, overruled its 1977 decision of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, and held that unions may not charge “agency fees” (known as “fair share fees”) to public employees who choose not to join the union. The Court found that payment of fair share fees by non-union members violates the First Amendment, which includes the right to be free from compulsion to engage in speech contrary to one’s beliefs. [More]

High Court Cases Could Mean Big Changes for Cities, Townships, Villages

The United States Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in two cases that may significantly impact local government. One case pits First Amendment free speech rights against the right of a local legislative body to control its meetings. The second case challenges a rule established in 1977 requiring public employees to pay “fair share” union dues where an employee chooses not to join the union. Both arguments involved very active questioning by the justices and could result in changes in the law in late spring or early summer. [More]

When Free Speech Collides with Policies

Is a government employer permitted to discipline an employee for behavior it believes an employee has engaged in? What if that employer is mistaken about said behavior? And what happens when the behavior is potentially constitutionally protected political activity? Unfortunately, these are scenarios that occur more often than many people might believe. [More]