[September 26, 2013] A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge recently ruled that DuPont Co. violated the National Labor Relations Act by failing to provide a union representative when a worker asked for one during an interview that led to his termination. The case serves as a reminder of union employees’ so-called “Weingarten rights” to have a union representative present during any interview that may result in discipline.
DuPont conducted the interview as part of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding a workplace accident. When the employee requested representation, the company told him he didn’t need it.
However, DuPont later terminated that employee’s employment because it believed he was dishonest during the interview.
The administrative law judge concluded that DuPont violated the employee’s Weingarten rights when it continued the interview after the employee’s request for representation. The judge explained that DuPont should have given the employee a choice between continuing the interview unrepresented or having no interview, and ordered the company to cease and desist from violating any employee’s Weingarten rights.
We recommend that unionized employers remind all managers and other employees conducting internal investigations about the rights of union employees, upon request, to have a union representative present during any interview that may result in discipline.