Boss Asking Questions? Know Your Rights!

you-have-rightsUnion Members: If called into an investigatory interview DO NOT ask management if you need a Union Representative. Instead, read management the following statement:

“I have reason to believe that this conversation may lead to disciplinary action against me; therefore, in accordance with my rights under the National Labor Relations Act, I request that this conversation not begin until:

(1) My Union Representative is present,
(2) I am advised of the subject and purpose of the interview, and
(3) I have had an opportunity to consult with my Union Representative.”

What is an “Investigatory Interview?”

An “investigatory interview occurs” when:

(1) Management questions an employee to obtain information, and
(2) The employee has a reasonable belief that discipline may result.

What Rules apply to Investigatory Interviews?

(1) The employee being questioned may request union representation before or at any time during the interview
(2) When an employee requests union representation, the employer must then choose from among three options:

(a) Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives
(b) Deny the request and end the interview immediately
(c) Give the employee the choice of either having the interview without representation, or ending the interview (our recommendation!)

Things to keep in mind:

  • Never leave the interview, if you have requested representation, until allowed to do so
  • No one remembers everything about their day. If you don’t recall something, it’s okay (and recommended!) to say so
  • Less is more! Keep your anwers short and to the point
  • Get comfortable with silence; managers use silence after you answer a question to see if you will get nervous and add more to the story. Say your piece and wait; follow your steward’s advice.
  • Never lose your temper during the interview

Union Steward Rights During an Investigatory Interview:

(1) The Supervisor must inform the Steward of the subject matter of the interview; the type of misconduct being investigated
(2) The Steward must be allowed to have a private meeting with the employee before questioning begins
(3) The Steward can speak during the interview, but cannot insist that the interview be ended
(4) The Steward can object to a confusing question during an interview and can request that the question be clarified so that the employee clearly understands what is being asked
(5) The Steward can advise the employee not to answer questions that are abusive, misleading, badgering, or harassing
(6) When questioning ends, the Steward can provide information to justify the employee’s conduct

Failure on the part of management to follow these rules may be grounds for filing an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against the employer with the National Labor Relations Board. Consult your Union Steward for more information.

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