“If this discussion could - in any way - lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”
WHAT ARE THEY? Weingarten rights guarantee an employee the right to union representation whenever an employer’s investigatory interview could lead to discipline. An employee’s right to have union representation in an investigatory or predisciplinary meeting was established for private-sector employees in a 1975 United States Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. The Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations has adopted the Weingarten rules for public employees covered by M.G.L. c.150E. HOW AND WHEN SHOULD AN EMPLOYEE REQUEST REPRESENTATION? The employee should request representation as soon as the employee becomes aware that the employer is seeking information that may result in discipline or that may support a disciplinary decision already made. The employee’s request does not have to be in any particular form, nor does it have to be in writing.
WHAT MUST THE EMPLOYER DO? The employer must grant the request and delay the meeting or interview until the representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee. The employer may also discontinue the meeting. The employer may also allow the employee to choose whether to continue with the interview unrepresented or forgo the interview entirely. Employers do not need to inform you of your Weingarten Rights.
WHEN DO WEINGARTEN RIGHTS NOT APPLY?
When the meeting or discussion is merely for the purpose of conveying work instructions, training, or needed corrections.
When the purpose of the meeting is simply to inform the employee about a disciplinary decision that has already been made and no information is sought from the employee.
When the employer has clearly and overtly assured the employee prior to the interview that no discipline or adverse consequences will result from the interview, provided that the employer keeps that promise.