Publications

Non-Unionized Employees Entitled To Representation During Disciplinary Meetings

August 15, 2000

The National Labor Relations Board (“The Board”) recently reversed long-established case precedent and held that non-unionized employees are entitled to have a representative or coworker present at an investigatory interview which the employee reasonably believes might result in disciplinary action. This legal principle, known as Weingarten rights, was first recognized for unionized employees in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, NLRB v. Weingarten, 420 U.S. 251(1975). The Board has, for numerous years, refused to extend Weingarten rights to non-unionized employees.

The Board reversed itself after re-examining Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Section 7 affords all employees the opportunity and right to act together in concert for mutual aid or protection, which includes concerted activities designed to prevent employers from imposing unjust disciplinary actions against employees. Section 7, unlike other sections of the Act, is not limited to unionized employees. Because Section 7 clearly protects the rights of all employees—unionized or not—to engage in concerted activity for mutual aid or protection, the Board concluded non-unionized employees, like their unionized counterparts, should be entitled to assert Weingarten rights during investigatory interviews or meetings.

In view of this decision, employers should exercise extreme caution and consult legal counsel before declining an employee’s representation request. Employees wrongfully terminated in violation of their Weingarten rights may obtain reinstatement and recover backpay and other lost benefits.

Firm Highlights

Experience

Thompson Coe Saves Client $100Ks in Damages After 3-Day Trial

Publication

The 2020 HR Recap

We’ve made it to the recap episode! The good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between. Join Kevin and Elaine (Lainey) Luthens as they discuss it all including FFCRA legislation, OSHA, what they...

Publication

The Tale of OCS and the Coronavirus

How has Opportunity Community Services survived during this pandemic and Phase 1? Rose Kukwa of Opportunity Community Services and Dennis Van Norman with Van Norman & Associates share their experience.  Rose and her team...

Publication

ICHRAs

Individual Coverage HRA. What is it? What are the benefits and drawbacks? What companies are a good fit for ICHRAs versus group health plans? Kevin talks with Matt Hollister, President and CEO of Business...

Experience

COVID-19 Response Team - Resources and Updates

Publication

The COVID-19 Vaccine Part 1

News Item

Thompson Coe Welcomes Partners Kenya Bodden and Patrick Kelly

Publication

Supreme Court Reaffirms and Clarifies Ministerial Exception to Employment Discrimination Laws Under First Amendment’s Religion Clause

Publication

U.S. Supreme Court Settles Issue of Title VII Protections for LGBTQ+ Employees

Headshot of Stephanie Rojo
Publication

The Importance of Strategic Transitions

Transitions versus change, what’s the destination and why is this important for a business?  Kevin talks with Gwen Gierke from Gierke Jungbauer on how they help to manage transitions. Transition happens in three stages: the ending, the neutral zone, and...