YES, YOU HAVE RIGHTS!
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to request Union representation during investigatory interviews by supervisors, security personnel, and other managerial staff. These are called Weingarten Rights. NLRB v. J Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S.. 251, 88 LRRM 2689 (U.S. Sup. Ct. 1975)
An investigatory interview occurs if 1) management questions you to obtain information; and 2) you have reasonable apprehension that your answers could be used as a basis for discipline or other adverse action. Investigatory interviews relate to such subjects as, and are not limited to the following:
- Absenteeism - Insubordination
- Compliance with Work Rules - Poor Attitude
- Accidents - Lateness
- Damage to Company Property - Poor work Performance
- Drinking - Sabotage
- Drugs - Slowdowns
- Falsification of Records - Theft
- Fighting - Violation of Safety Rules
You must ask for Union representation either before or during an investigatory interview. Management does not have to remind you of this right.
If your request is refused and management continues asking questions, you may refuse to answer. Your employer is guilty of an unfair labor practice and charges may be filed.
Union Steward Rights Under Weingarten
You are not required to merely be a 'silent witness'. You have the right to:
1. be informed by the supervisor of the subject matter of the interview
2. take the employee aside for a private conference before the questioning begins
3. speak during the interview
4. request that the supervisor clarify a question so that what is being asked is understood
5. give employee advice on how to answer a question
6. provide additional information to the supervisor at the end of the questioning.
You do not have the right to tell the employee not to answer nor to give false answers. An employee can be disciplined for refusing to answer questions.
If you are questioned in a situation where Weingarten may apply, read or present the following statement:
REQUEST FOR UNION REPRESENTATION
If this interview could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my Union Representative, Officer or Steward be present at this meeting. Until my Representative arrives; I choose not to participate in this discussion.
The statement above could save your job.
Open the statement below for printing