Every union-represented employee has rights that are protected by law. One advantage you have as a union member is the right to have a union representative with you when your employer asks you to answer questions that could lead to your discipline or employment termination.
The right to have a union representative with you during an “investigatory interview” is from the United States Supreme Court decision National Labor Relations Board v. J. Weingarten, Inc. The union member rights that are established by that decision are called Weingarten rights.
You may wonder why you would want or need a union representative in the room with you during an investigatory interview that could lead to your discipline or termination. What could go wrong? You’re a good worker and have nothing to hide!
There are many reasons why your Weingarten rights are important and you should feel free to exercise them whenever the need arises.
You can consult privately with your union representative and receive advice before answering employer questions.
Your union representative can serve as a witness to your answers and defend your version of the investigatory interview if necessary.
Your union representative can ask the employer to clarify unclear or confusing questions on your behalf.
Your union representative can raise contract language and other facts that may cause the employer to shorten or end the investigatory interview.
These are only a few of the reasons why it’s important to know that you can count on your union representative to help you through what is likely to be a stressful meeting with your employer.