If you are ever called into an meeting with your supervisor or manager so they can investigate a situation which might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are called “Weingarten Rights” and are summarized below:
- You have the right to have a Union Shop Steward present
- If you want a Shop Steward there, you must ask for him or her
- If you do not know why your supervisor or manager wants to meet with you, ask if it is a meeting that could result in discipline
- If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a Shop Steward, repeat your request in front of a witness. Do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions. Take notes. Once the meeting is over, call your Shop Steward immediately.
- You have the right to speak privately with your Shop Steward before the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting
- Your Shop Steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting. He or she is not just a witness.
“Weingarten Rights” are based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. J. Weingarten.
This statement can save your job:
“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my Shop Steward be present at the meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to respond to any questions or statements.”
Demand Union Representation
You must ask for Union representation before or during the interview. Management does not have to inform you of this right.
Refuse to Proceed Without Union Representation
A questioner must be told of your desire for representation. Refusal to cooperate on your part can be viewed as insubordination. If management refuses to allow you representation, stay in the room, but remain silent.
Do Not Make Any Written or Verbal Statement of Guilt or Innocence
You cannot be forced to make a statement. The most appropriate response in this situation is to make NO statement – claiming innocence is considered to be a statement.
Do Not Waive Your Right to Representation
If you proceed in questioning without representation, you have waived your right to representation and any statement can be used against you.
Weingarten Rights do not apply to everyday conversations between members and supervisors regarding regular job duties or work performance.