When do employees have a right to request a union representative?
An employee’s right to request a representative arises during an investigatory interview.
A useful comparison is an individual’s Miranda right to an attorney when questioned by law enforcement. However, unlike the right to counsel in a Miranda setting, employers are not required to inform union members of their rights under Weingarten.
Any meeting may be an “investigatory interview” provided that the following occurs:
- A manager, representative of management, or supervisor is seeking to question an employee.
- The questioning is part of an investigation into the employee’s performance or work conduct. During an investigatory interview, a representative of management may require an employee to defend, explain, or admit misconduct or work performance issues that may form the basis for discipline or discharge.
- The employee reasonably believes that the investigation may result in discharge, discipline, demotion, or other adverse consequence to their job status or working conditions.
- The employee requests a union representative. Employers are not required to advise employees of their right to representation and third parties (including union representatives) may not make the request on behalf of the employee.
How do I invoke my Weingarten Rights?
How does an employee exercise Weingarten rights? Simply stating, "I would like my union representative present" is sufficient to invoke the right.
Even questions such as, "Shouldn't I have a representative here?" have been considered sufficient to assert Weingarten rights.