INSTALLATION STATUS: Open Weather Warning 11-017 (Valid 23 NOV 14 1200L Until Further Notice) Strong Winds greater than or equal to 35 kts (40 mph) but less than 45 kts. (52mph) not associated with thunderstorms on the Fort Hood Reservation.

Weather Warning 11-017 (Valid 23 NOV 14 1200L Until Further Notice) Strong Winds greater than or equal to 35 kts (40 mph) but less than 45 kts. (52mph) not associated with thunderstorms on the Fort Hood Reservation.

INVESTIGATORY MEETINGS

During 1975, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in NLRB v. Weingarten. This decision upheld a National Labor Relations Board determination that, under the National Labor Relations Act, an employee, upon request, had the right to union representation at an investigatory interview (meeting) which the employee reasonably believed might result in disciplinary action. In labor relations circles, this holding has become widely known as the "Weingarten Rule."

In firmly establishing this rule, it was the Court's view that such representation would be useful to both employees and employers. The court stated that a single employee confronted by an employer investigating whether certain conduct deserves discipline may be too fearful or inarticulate to relate accurately the incident being investigated or too ignorant to raise extenuating factors. The Court felt that a knowledgeable union representative could assist the employer by eliciting favorable facts and save the employer production time by getting to the bottom of the incident occasioning the interview. The Court stated that union representation should not await the employer's determination of misconduct, the imposition of discipline, and the filing of a grievance. At that stage, observed the Court, it becomes increasingly difficult for the employee to vindicate himself, the value of representation is correspondingly diminished, and the employer may then be more concerned with justifying its actions then examining them.

Congress incorporated the Weingarten principle in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and Federal employees have enjoyed similar rights as private sector employees since January of 1979. Specifically, Section 7114(a)(2)(B) of Title 5, United States Code, provides that:

An exclusive representative of an appropriate unit in an agency will be given the opportunity to be represented at any examination of an employee in the unit by a representative of the agency in connection with an investigation if:

  • The employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee and:
  • The employee requests representation.

By now you may be asking what does all this mean and how will I know if I'm involved in a potential Weingarten situation. There are several points to consider:

  • The right arises only in situations where the employee requests representation. Absent such a request, you may go about your business as usual. You are not required to inform the employee of this right. This is done annually by CPAC.
  • The entitlement to representation, if requested, exists only in those situations where the employee believes discipline may result. Weingarten rights do not apply to performance counseling sessions.
  • If you have a Weingarten situation and representation is requested, you have two choices. You may allow the employee to obtain a representative and proceed with your meeting, or you may discontinue your investigation and obtain the information through other sources.
  • Remember the role of the union representative in such meetings is to assist the employee. You are entitled to hear the answers from the employee. The representative is there to advise the employee.