The U.S. Supreme Court says the First Amendment protects public employees from job retaliation when they testify in court about official corruption.
The justices ruled unanimously Thursday in favor of Edward Lane, a former Alabama community college official who says he was fired after testifying at the criminal fraud trial of a state lawmaker.
Lower courts had ruled against Lane, finding that he was testifying as a college employee, not as a citizen.
The Supreme Court said Lane's testimony was constitutionally protected because he was speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern, even if it covered facts learned at work.
But the court said the college's former president is immune from damages under laws shielding public officials from lawsuits in their official capacity.