F-22

 

 

District 75

 

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IAM ACTIVIST CENTER

 

 

 

Weingarten Rights - representation during an investigation interview, by your employer

Unions should encourage workers to assert their Weingarten rights. The presence of a steward can help in many ways.  The contents of this section is not intended as legal advice, please contact your Union representative for further information.

  • The steward can help a fearful or inarticulate employee explain what happened.

  • The steward can raise extenuating factors.

  • The steward can advise an employee against blindly denying everything, thereby giving the appearance of dishonesty and guilt.

  • The steward can help prevent an employee from making fatal admissions.

  • The steward can stop an employee from losing his or her temper, and perhaps getting fired for insubordination.

  • The steward can serve as a witness to prevent supervisors from giving a false account of the conversation.

Investigatory Interviews usually relate to subjects such as absenteeism, accidents, damage to company property, drinking, drugs, falsification of records, fighting, insubordination, lateness, poor attitude, sabotage, theft,
violation of safety rules, work performance

Rights of Stewards:

  • Employers often assert that the only role of a steward at an investigatory interview is to observe the discussion, in other words to be a silent witness. The Supreme Court, however, clearly acknowledged a steward's right to assist and counsel workers during the interview. Decided cases establish the following procedures:

  • When the steward arrives, the supervisor must inform the steward of the subject matter of the interview, i.e. the type of misconduct for which discipline is being considered (theft, lateness, drugs, etc.)

  • The steward must be allowed to take the worker aside for a private pre-interview conference before questioning begins.

  • The steward must be allowed to speak during the interview. However, the steward does not have the right to bargain over the purpose of the interview.

  • The steward can request that the supervisor clarify a question so that the worker can understand what is being asked.

  • After a question is asked, the steward can give advice on how to answer.

  • When the questioning ends, the steward can provide additional information to the supervisor.

  • It must be emphasized that if the Weingarten rules are complied with, stewards have no right to tell workers not to answer questions, or to give false answers. Workers can be disciplined if they refuse to answer questions.

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