Know Your Rights

Weingarten Rights: The Right to Representation

If you are ever called into an interview meeting with your supervisor or manager that might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are summarized below.

    • You have the right to have a Union steward present.
    • If you want a steward there, you must ask for them.
    • If you do not know why your manager wants to meet with you, ask them if it is a meeting that could result in a discipline.
    • If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a steward, repeat your request in front of a witness. Do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over, call your steward at once.
    • You have the right to speak privately with your steward before the meeting and during the meeting.
    • Your steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting. She or he is not just witness.

This statement could save your job: “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, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”

Know Your Rights

As Employees in the United States of America, YOU HAVE RIGHTS!

Federal and state law guarantees your right to form a union. Employees who are eligible to form unions have the following rights at work:

  • You have the right to form a union with your fellow employees.
  • You have the right to read, distribute and discuss union literature.
  • You have the right to encourage your co-workers to form a union.
  • You have the right to attend union meetings.
  • You also have rights covered under your constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Management can not legally punish or discriminate against any worker because of union activity. For example, management can not legally do the following:

  • Threaten to or actually fire, lay off, discipline, harass, transfer, or reassign employees because they support the union.
  • Favor employees who don’t support the union over those who do in promotions, job assignments, wages, hours, enforcement of rules, or any other working condition.
  • Shut down the work site or take away any benefits or privileges employees already enjoy in order to discourage union activity.

Garrity Rights (PUBLIC ONLY)

In the case of Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 US 495 (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that public employees could not be forced, under clear threat of dismissal, to violate the principles of compulsory self-incrimination. This decision established what have come to be called “Garrity Rights” for public employees.The Garrity rule is similar to Miranda rights for public employees. However, the burden is on the employee to assert their Garrity rights. These rights can and should be asserted whenever an employee believes they are being investigated for possible criminal conduct.Once an employee has asserted their Garrity rights, management must:Give a direct order to answer the questionMake the question specific, directly and narrowly related to the employee’s duty or fitness for dutyAdvise the employee that the answers will not and cannot be used against him/her in a criminal proceeding, nor the fruits of those proceedingsAllow union representation if the employee also asserts their Weingarten Rights.Disclaimer: The content on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.


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