NLRB Expands Weingarten Rights for Unionized Employees

Authored by David P. Frenzia

Dec 30, 2014

In yet another union-friendly decision, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) greatly expanded the scope of a unionized employee’s Weingarten rights. It is well-settled that an employee represented by a union, upon request, is entitled to union representation at an investigatory meeting where he or she has reasonable grounds to fear that the meeting may result in disciplinary action. NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975). In Fry’s Food Stores, 361 NLRB No. 140 (2014), the Board found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”)by:

  • Not allowing the employee to consult with a union representative before the employer interviewed her about alleged employee misconduct, even though neither the employee nor the union representative made a request for a pre-interview meeting (and despite the fact that until now Weingarten did not guarantee a pre-interview meeting between an employee and his or her union representative).
  • Denying the employee effective Weingarten representation by “instructing” the union representative that she was at the interview only “to observe and listen” despite the fact that the union representative testified that she was never told by the employer that she could not ask questions or otherwise actively participate in the investigatory interview.

The Board also mentioned in passing that the employer violated the NLRA by denying the employee the union representative of her choice. This decision is yet another example of the Board’s overreach and willingness to expand employees’ rights at the expense of an employer’s ability to operate efficiently and effectively. As indicated in other recent blogs, the Board has issued dozens of decisions adversely impacting employers. Contact the attorneys at the Lowenbaum Partnership to find out how this decision and other recent decisions will impact your workplace.

If you have any questions about NLRB Expands Weingarten Rights or Labor Relations or any other Employment Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact David P. Frenzia, R. Michael Lowenbaum, Corey L. Franklin, D. Michael Linihan, Robert S. Seigel, Whitney P. Cooney, Jamie M. Westbrook, or Ashley A. Diaz.

Page 1 of 11