By Dennis Law and Kathryn Eppright

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made it easier for a public employee to obtain whistleblower protection in Dahlia v. Rodriguez1 (‘‘Dahlia’’). Sitting en banc, the Ninth Circuit decided in a unanimous decision to overrule its previous decision in Huppert v. City of Pittsburg2 and convert the determination of whether a public employee is acting within the scope of his or her duties into a factual question rather than a legal one.3 The court also concluded that placement on administrative leave can constitute an adverse action for purposes of establishing a First Amendment retaliation claim.4

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