The right of employees to have union representation at disciplinary and investigatory interviews is commonly referred to as “Weingarten rights” because it is similar to the right recognized in the private sector in a U.S. Supreme Court case (NLRB vs. Weingarten, Inc. (1975) 420 U.S. 251, 88 LRRM 2689).
Employees have Weingarten rights during investigatory interviews or meetings where the employee has a reasonable basis to believe that discipline may result from information obtained in the meeting.
An investigatory interview occurs when a supervisor questions an employee to obtain information that could be incriminating and has the potential to affect the employment relationship. Notably, an investigatory meeting does not occur when an employee has a conversation about career goals, a planned performance meeting, or talking to a professor or mentor about an academic issue or academic progress.
If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline may result from what they say, the employee has the right to request union representation.
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