A lawsuit filed by federal employees from Utah and Texas challenging bans on outside work will be decided in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., attorneys said.

Lawyers for the National Treasury Employees Union had asked a federal appeals court in the nation's capital to issue a preliminary injunction against 1990 amendments to the Ethics Reform Act prohibiting federal employees from some work outside their government jobs.The appellate judges rejected the motion in a ruling released Friday.

The case now goes back to federal Judge Thomas P. Jackson, union spokesman Susan Holliday said.

The suit was filed on behalf of Jan Adams Grant of South Ogden and Thomas Fishell of Dallas, both tax examiners with the Internal Revenue Service.

It challenges a law preventing them and other federal employees from getting paid for work, speeches or appearances outside their government jobs.

"This is just a temporary setback, albeit one that maintains an unfair status quo that muzzles federal workers and prevents them from speaking out and earning extra money on their own time," said union president Robert Tobias.

Grant was earning a few thousand dollars a year conducting earthquake-preparedness seminars and writing environmental articles.

Fishell worked as an ordained minister, performing marriages and conducting funerals.