Weingarten Rights

Weingarten Rights: Your Right to Representation

Weingarten rights, as established in a 1975 United States Supreme Court decision — NLRB v. Weingarten,Inc. — guarantee an employee the right to union representation during an investigatory interview.  The state Division of Labor Relations (formerly the state Labor Relations Commission) has adopted the Weingarten rules for public employees covered by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 150E.  These rights are based upon private- and public-sector collective bargaining laws.  What situations give rise to Weingarten rights?

  • Where the employee has a reasonable expectation that discipline may result — for example, where the meeting is part of the employer’s disciplinary procedure.
  • Where the purpose of the interview or meeting is to elicit facts or the employee’s “side of the story” or to obtain admissions or other evidence to determine whether discipline is warranted or to support a disciplinary decision already made.
  • Where the employee is required to explain or defend his or her conduct in a situation that the employee reasonably fears could affect his or her working conditions or job security.

If a situation occurs that you believe could affect your employment, then you may be entitled to union representation.  Do not be shy about this. Protect yourself!