Weingarten Rights definition

A series of rights, upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1975, that employees should have access to union representation when attending investigatory interviews.

These rights are codified in three rules:

Rule 1: The employee must make a clear request for Union representation before or during the interview. The employee can’t be punished for making this request.

Rule 2: After the employee makes the request, the employer has three legal options:

  1. Grant the request and delay the interview until the Union representative arrives and has had a chance to meet in privacy with the employee
  2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately, without further questioning
  3. Allow the employee to choose between 1) conducting the interview without union representation or 2) ending the interview

Rule 3: If the employer denies the request for union representation and continues with the interview, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee can refuse to answer any questions, for which the employer cannot discipline the employee.

The original rights were granted by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision and upheld by the US Supreme Court in NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975).

The NLRB during the Clinton Administration extended the Weingarten Rights to non-unionised employees in July 2000, reversed by the NLRB four years later during the Bush Administration.