in constitutionally protected activity. See Mt. Healthy, 429 U.S. at 287. If the challenged activity is protected, the plaintiff must show that the activity was a substantial or motivating factor in the adverse employment decision of which he complains. Id. Finally, the defendant-employer can defeat plaintiff's claim if the employer establishes that the employer would have reached the same decision even in the absence of plaintiff's protected conduct. Id. We begin with the first step of this analysis.
Constitutionally Protected Activity
In Pickering v. Board of Education, 391 U.S. 563, 20 L. Ed. 2d 811, 88 S. Ct. 1731 (1968), the Supreme Court established a two-pronged balancing test to be used to determine whether a public employee's First Amendment rights have been violated. First, the court must determine whether the employee's speech dealt with a matter of public concern. Pickering, 391 U.S. at 568. If so, the court must then "arrive at a balance between the interests of the [employee], as a citizen, in commenting on matters of public concern and the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees." Id. If Hayes' speech did not address a matter of public concern, it is unnecessary for us to examine the reasons behind defendants' actions and our inquiry is complete. Connick v. Myers, 461 U.S. 138, 146, 75 L. Ed. 2d 708, 103 S. Ct. 1684 (1983).
Matters of Public Concern
The dispositive issue before us, therefore, is whether Hayes' speech involved a matter of public concern. This issue is a question of law and is determined by "the content, form, and context of [the speech], as revealed by the whole record." Connick, 461 U.S. at 147-8. Matters of public concern relate to political, social, or other concerns of the community. Id. 461 U.S. at 146. We must look at the point of Hayes' speech and determine if he intended to raise an issue of public concern, or merely to further a personal and private interest. Linhart v. Glatfelter, 771 F.2d 1004, 1010 (7th Cir. 1985). Moreover, the subject matter of plaintiff's grievance must be a matter of public concern if its filing is to be protected under the First Amendment's guarantee of the right to petition the government. Santella v. Grishaber, 654 F. Supp. 428, 435-6 (N.D. Ill. 1987).
In the case at bar, Hayes' speech was in the form of a personal grievance and in the context of an employment dispute. Hayes was not speaking to the community as a citizen on a matter of political, social or other public concern. In fact, Hayes acknowledges that he petitioned the court for his right to work and pursue his career as a Chicago police officer.
Clearly, Hayes was motivated not by a concern for the community at large, but to pursue his personal interests as a Chicago police officer. While we agree that retaliatory acts and noncompliance with collective bargaining agreements are matters of public concern, it is plaintiff's speech, not defendants' behavior, which must concern the public if it is to warrant First Amendment protection. Connick, 461 U.S. at 146-7.
Hayes asserts that his actions were a matter of public concern because his actions focused on the relationship between management and employees in general. However, mere litigation of an employment dispute does not per se transform the matter into an assertion about employment practices generally. Santella, 654 F. Supp. at 435. This is not a case where Hayes sought to specifically challenge general employment practices of the City. Cf. McKinley v. City of Eloy, 705 F.2d 1110 (9th Cir. 1983) (public employee's speech pertained to pay protests concerning all police officers and, therefore, did not arise within private dispute but concerned general commentary on management/employee relations).
Finally, while we sympathize with plaintiff's position, we cannot allow his claim to prevail; to do so would impermissibly "open the federal floodgates to all manner of petty personnel disputes." Altman v. Hurst, 734 F.2d 1240, 1244 (7th Cir. 1984). Such employment matters should be resolved through internal employment policies or state court adjudication. Id. Because Hayes' speech did not entail a matter of public concern, we conclude that his present action before us necessarily fails.
For the reasons stated in this opinion, this Court grants defendants' the City of Chicago, Fred Rice and Joseph Beazley motion to dismiss plaintiff's Raymond Hayes complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.