Annual Weingarten Notice 2014
January 7, 2014
It is time once again to inform employees of their Weingarten rights as provided for in 5 USC 7114. For those new to the labor relations field, a little background may be in order.
Title 5 United States Code (USC) section 7114(a)(2)(B), Representation Rights and Duties, provides:
(2) An exclusive representative of an appropriate unit in an agency shall be given the opportunity to be represented at-
(B) any examination of an employee in the unit by a representative of the agency in connection with an investigation if:
(i) the employee reasonably believes that the examination may result in disciplinary action against the employee; and
(ii) the employee requests representation.
This right is commonly referred to as the "Weingarten" right, based on the U.S. Supreme Court's private sector labor decision in NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975) http://supreme.justia.com/us/420/251/case.html. Briefly, this statutory right provides that when an agency representative (to include your IG, your guard/police force or even a representative from DoD) questions a bargaining unit employee, and the employee reasonably believes the questioning may result in disciplinary action against that employee and the employee requests union representation, the employee is generally entitled to representation if the investigation continues.
Upon a valid request for union representation from a bargaining unit employee, management has three options:
1) grant the request and notify the union that a meeting to examine a bargaining unit employee is going to take place and that the employee has requested union representation; 2) stop questioning the employee and continue the investigation without interviewing that employee; or 3) offer the employee a clear choice to either continue the interview without representation, or have no interview. Additional information regarding "Weingarten" rights can be obtained in PERMISS at http://cpol.army.mil/library/permiss/4122.html. Remember, this "Weingarten" right applies only to bargaining unit employees.