The right of employees to have Union representation at investigatory interviews was announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.
Union Representation and the Disciplinary Interview:
An employee who is called to an interview with his or her employer which may lead to some disciplinary action is entitled to union representation. An employee must request to have a union representative present during investigatory interviews which the employee reasonably believes will result in disciplinary action.
If management wants to question or “interview” you,
- Ask what is involved. Ask if this might lead to you being disciplined.
- Tell management that you want a union representative present.
- Refuse to answer any questions until a union representative is present.
- Refuse to allow any tape or any other electronic recording of the interview.
If management insists on proceeding with the interview without regard for your rights, make clear that you are proceeding under protest. Take careful notes. Answer questions briefly, but honestly.
If you make the mistake of starting the interview and become disturbed by the direction the interview is taking, stop the interview, request that a union representative be present before continuing with the interview.