Free Speech

Guide to Free Speech Law in California


For the most part, free speech is based on federal and constitutional law. See our Guide to Free Speech in the U.S. for more details.

What is legal or illegal to say in California?

Free speech law is more or less the same throughout the country. See our Guide to Free Speech in the U.S.

Can journalists be forced to disclose their sources?

California has “journalist’s privilege” aka journalist shield laws, protecting journalists in many situations from being forced to reveal their sources to the government.

Can employers restrict my free speech?

In some ways, yes. As discussed above, private employers are generally NOT subject to the 1st amendment (only the government is). But California law does protect employees from being fired for certain political activity. See our Guide to the Law for Employees for more.

Can my landlord restrict my free speech?

A landlord cannot prevent you from posting political signs on your unit, as long as the sign is less than 6 square feet and is not otherwise prohibited by law. If no local ordinance gives time limits for how long you may have the sign up, your landlord may establish
a reasonable time limit for having the sign up. A “reasonable” time period means at least 90 days before the election or vote to which the sign refers and at least 15 days after.1Civil Code Section 1940.4 See more about Tenants Rights.

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