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Performance Management
Weingarten Rights
 
If you are conducting an investigatory or fact-finding meeting with an employee represented by a labor union, the employee may have certain rights afforded to them called Weingarten Rights.
 
Weingarten Rights allow an employee to have union representation at an investigatory meeting if the employee reasonably believes the meeting may result in discipline. An employee who believes a meeting could lead to discipline has the responsibility to request representation. Weingarten rights require three elements to be present: 
 
1.  An investigatory meeting
 
2.  The employee’s reasonable belief that discipline may result
 
3.  The employee’s request for representation. 
 
Prior to the meeting, check the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to see what notice to the union is required.
 
At the onset of the meeting, the role of the union representative is to assist the employee but not argue the merits of a case. Consequently, the union representative may ask about the purpose of the meeting and ask about the general subject matter of the questioning to follow.
 
During the investigatory meeting, the union representative may ask clarifying questions but may not counsel the employee on how or whether to answer the employer’s questions. Interrupting the meeting so the union representative may meet privately with the employee is not permitted.
 
After the employer has finished questioning the employee, the union representative may ask the employee questions designed to clarify previous answers or to elicit further relevant information. Before the end of the meeting, the representative may suggest other witnesses to interview and may describe relevant practices, prior situations, or mitigating factors that could have some bearing on the employer’s deliberations concerning discipline. Because this is a meeting to obtain information from the employee about relevant facts to the situation, it is not appropriate for the union representative to question the employer.
 
NOTE: The role of a union representative at the pre-dismissal meeting is generally much broader than the limited role permitted at an investigatory meeting. At a pre-dismissal meeting the union representative may act as the employee’s advocate. In addition, some Collective Bargaining Agreements may provide rights in other circumstances, such as grievance meetings.
 
If you have any questions about Weingarten Rights or conducting an investigatory meeting with represented employees, contact the DAS Labor Relations Unit.