Weingarten Rights

Whether “Weingarten rights” is a completely new phrase for you, something you vaguely remember, or even if you’re an old pro, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to familiarize yourself with your rights regarding union representation before you need to invoke them. The following information was provided by the MTA and gives an overview. If you need further information, be sure to see your building or PR&R representatives.

What are Weingarten Rights?
They are your right to representation in investigatory or pre-disciplinary meetings. These rights were established in the 1975 U.S. Supreme Court decision NLRB (National Labor Rights Board) v. Weingarten, Inc. The Massachusetts Labor Relations Commission has adopted the Weingarten rules for public employees covered by collective bargaining laws.

When do Weingarten Rights apply?
Basically, you are entitled to union representation upon request at any interview with administrators in which you are questioned about something for which you could be disciplined or which could affect your working conditions or job security.

More specifically, according to the MTA Division of Legal Services, the following situations give rise to invoking Weingarten rights:

  • Where you have a reasonable expectation that discipline may result; for example, where the meeting is part of a disciplinary procedure.
  • Where the purpose of the meeting or interview is to investigate your allegedly inadequate work performance or other misconduct, where discipline of any kind is a possible result.
  • Where the purpose of the interview or meeting is to elicit facts, your “side of the story,” or obtain admissions or other evidence either to determine whether or not discipline is warranted or to support a disciplinary decision already made.
  • Where you are required to explain or defend your conduct in a situation which you reasonably fear could affect your working conditions or job security.

When don’t Weingarten Rights apply?
  • Where the meeting or discussion is for the purpose of communicating work instructions, training, or needed corrections.
  • Where the purpose is to inform you of a disciplinary decision that has been made and no further information is sought from you.
  • Where the administrator has clearly and overtly assured you prior to the meeting that no discipline or adverse consequences will result from the interview.