The plaintiffs were long-time police department officers. ?They, along with other officers, filed a grievance? against? their ?supervisor.???? ?The supervisor soon transferred to another unit. ?The officers nevertheless pursued their grievance, which was denied. ?They filed a complaint with HR as well. ?One of the officers was transferred to another unit, and the other was the subject of an internal affairs investigation.? ?They filed a complaint in Federal Court claiming retaliation in violation of the 1st? Amendment. ?The District Court found that the officers? speech did not involve an issue of public concern.?? The Ninth Circuit affirmed 2-1.?? Writing for the majority, Judge O?Scannlain rejected the argument that the grievance about the morale of the unit raised an issue????????? of??? ?public??? ?concern,??? ?despite??? ?his acknowledgement that Ninth Circuit precedent had previously employed ?broad language.? ?The majority distinguished cases, finding similar workplace complaints to be protected.? ?The concluded the complaint was merely about their supervisors? management style, and not an issue of public concern. ?Judge Wardlaw dissented on the basis that when viewed in the light most favorable? to? the? plaintiffs,? the? grievance? was more than a ?workplace gripe.? ?She would have held that issues of performance, discipline and morale in public safety organizations are especially matters of public concern.?? She concluded that a reasonable jury could find that at least some of elements of the grievances met this test.
Desrochers v. City of San Bernardino, 572 F.3d 703 (July 13, 2009) (O?Scannlain, Rymer, Wardlaw).