Unionized employees have Weingarten Rights. This is the right to have a union representative present during a meeting in which Management is questioning an employee and the employee may be disciplined in some way as a result of answering the questions.
Unlike Miranda Rights, the employer does not have to inform you of your rights to representation. If you are believe that you will be questioned in a meeting and that there will be negative consequences for you as a result, here is our advice:
- You must make a clear request for union representation either before the meeting takes place or during the questioning.
- Once you make your request to have a union representative present, the Administrator must grant the request, deny the request but end the questioning, or give you the choice of having the meeting without a representative or ending the meeting.
- If you are in this situation without a union representative, simply say, “I have nothing to say until my union representative is present.”
Once the union representative is present, you will be obligated to answer questions. However, if the information you provide could possibly lead to legal prosecution, you may want to remain silent until a Garrity Warning is issued. For more information about Garrity, click here. To download a copy of the WSU Garrity Warning, click here.
If an employee refuses to answer questions during an investigation, s/he must be given a warning that by so doing s/he could be disciplined up to and including termination. S/he must also be advised that the information gathered will not be admissible in criminal proceedings.
If you are issued unfair discipline or discharged, contact the union office as soon as possible to initiate the grievance procedure.