You have the right to union representation anytime you are examined by a supervisor/investigator if you reasonably believe the examination may result in disciplinary action.
Most of the time, your supervisors will hand you a Weingarten form before asking you questions or having you write a memo because of Weingarten and the requirements of Article 31.B(3) of the CBA. But sometimes they won’t, and it will be incumbent upon you to assert your rights.
This rule applies when:
- an examination of a bargaining unit employee by an agency representative takes place;
- the examination must occur in connection with an investigation (vehicle damage, UoF allegation, etc. An investigation does not need to be performed by OIG/OPR/MI);
- the employee must reasonably believe that the examination may result in discipline; and
- the employee must request representation.
Weingarten applies whether it’s a verbal meeting or written, like in a memo, and applies to employees who are both on probation or off probation — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
If you are going to be counseled by a supervisor, Weingarten does not apply. However, if during that counseling the supervisor begins asking you questions and you think the questions could lead to discipline, you need to ask for a union representative.
If you invoke your Weingarten rights, the agency can do one of the following:
- agree to your request and wait for the union representative to arrive or reschedule the meeting;
- deny your request and end the meeting immediately;
- give you the choice of ending the meeting or continuing without representation; or
- deny the request and continue to ask questions. You should then repeatedly but respectfully ask for union representation and protest the denial of your rights.
When in doubt, contact a local union representative for help.