Court holds that fired assistant Attorney General did not allege violation of First Amendment rights.
In Shirvell v. Department of Attorney General, the fired assistant AG sued, arguing that his firing and his denial of unemployment benefits violated his First Amendment right of free speech. The higher court upheld the summary disposition of his claim, even though he may have "spoken as a private citizen on a matter of public concern." The court agreed with the trial judge that there was "competent, material and substantial evidence...to support that there was just cause to terminate Shrivell" and therefore the termination was not arbitrary or capricious. The Court held that there was evidence to support the holding that Shrivell's speech, while private, "interfered with the Department's internal operations and adversely affected the efficient provision of governmental services." There was ample evidence that Shrivell "engaged in conduct unbecoming a state employee [that] undermined his professional character and reputation."