In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled in the Weingarten case that employees are entitled to Union representation during investigatory interviews by management representatives. Employees (our members) are encouraged to demand your Weingarten rights and need to consider the following in doing so:
Employees have the right to Union representation at an investigatory meeting if they reasonably believe that the investigation could lead to disciplinary action.
The employee must make the request for Union representation before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request. Workers who fail to request Union representation can be questioned at length.
After the employee makes the request the employer must choose from among three options. The employer may:
- Grant the request and delay questioning until the Union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the member.
- Deny the request and end the interview immediately.
- Give the employee a choice of (1) having the interview without representation or (2) stopping the interview.
Under no circumstances can the employer deny a request for representation yet still require the employee to answer questions.
If the employer denies the request for Union representation, and continues asking questions, the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.
Once a Union representative is called, he/she has the right:
- To know the subject of the investigatory meeting.
- To confer with the member prior to the meeting.
- And to speak and participate in the hearing.
My Weingarten Rights
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my Union representative or Steward be present at this meeting. As soon as Union representation is provided, I will participate in this interview.