If your boss or supervisor calls you into a meeting to ask you questions and you believe it might result in discipline against you, you have the right to be accompanied by a union steward or representative of your union. This concept is known as your “Weingarten rights.” They stem from the 1975 Supreme Court case NLRB v. Weingarten.
Your rights at work are:
- You have the right to bring a representative of your union to the meeting.
- You need to inform your boss that you want a union representative present.
- If you do not know or are not told what the meeting is about, you have the right to ask whether it may be disciplinary in nature, or if you will be asked questions that could lead to discipline..
- If the boss or supervisor forbid the union representative from sitting in, ask your boss again in the presence of a witness.
- Once you have clearly requested a steward for the meeting, the employer has three options:
- Grant your request
- Discontinue the interview, or
- Advise you that you have the choice to either discontinue the interview or waive your right to union representation by continuing the interview.
- Do not agree to participate in an interview without representation. The right to union representation is for your protection and you should not agree to waive that right.
- If the employer refuses to recognize your right to representation and threatens you with discipline if you refuse to participate in the interview and/or answer questions, you should:
- Specifically state that you are not waiving your rights and are participating under protest.
- If you can, take notes about the questions you are asked and the answers you give. Otherwise, write those things down immediately after the interview.
- After the interview, immediately contact your shop steward and discuss filing an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against the employer.
- You have the right to talk with your union representative before and during the meeting.
- Your union representative has the right to participate in and speak at the meeting, not to just be there as a witness.