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.
Federal and state law guarantees your right to form a union. Employees who are eligible to form unions have the following rights at work:
Management can not legally punish or discriminate against any worker because of union activity. For example, management can not legally do the following:
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.
In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill established what has come to be called “Loudermill Rights” which grant due process to public employees who are being involuntarily terminated.
Prior to being terminated, the Union member has the right to present their side of the story before the employer makes a decision on discipline. Public employees are entitled to oral or written notice of the charges against them, an explanation of the employer’s evidence, and an opportunity to present their side of the story. Sometimes these meetings are referred to as pre-disciplinary hearings.
The employee has the right to speak or stay silent at the Loudermill hearing. Also, the employee has a right to union representation, and the union representative may speak on behalf of the employee.
If the employee chooses not to attend the pre-disciplinary hearing, the employer may proceed with discipline or termination.
Know your Rights FAQ
Everyone wants a smooth working relationship on the job, but problems can arise in any workplace. As an SEIU District 1199 WV/KY/OH member, you have union protection and rights guaranteed by your contract and also several Supreme Court decisions.
What’s the best way to protect myself?
Read and understand your contract and know who your Delegates are. The contract governs terms and conditions of your employment.
What if I think my contractual rights are being violated?
Remember, obey a supervisory order and then grieve it afterwards. You have the right to file a grievance when management violates a contractual right.
Talk to your Delegate immediately.
There are strict timelines that apply, so work closely with your Delegate. If management refuses to settle the grievance, the Union may argue your case before an impartial arbitrator who makes the final ruling.
I think I’m in trouble at work – what are my rights?
A 1975 Supreme Court ruling, NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., gives you the RIGHT to have Union representation when you are being investigated at work. If you believe that a conversation with a supervisor could lead to discipline or termination, INSIST on having your Union representative present. These are called Weingarten Rights and it is up to you to demand them.
Follow these steps:
Remember, Weingarten Rights do not apply to everyday conversations between members of the Union and supervisors regarding regular job duties or work performance. They only apply to questioning from management that could lead to discipline or termination.