Your Protected Right to Union Representation
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that employees have a right to union representation during investigatory interviews conducted by their employers, provided the employee reasonably believes the investigation may lead to discipline. This right from NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc came to be known as the Weingarten Right and apply to you and to other unionized employees.
The Weingarten case established the following principles:
RULE 1: The employee must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. The employee cannot be punished for making this request.
RULE 2: After the employee makes the request, the employer must choose from among three options. The employer must either: (1) grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with the employee; (2) deny the request and end the interview immediately; or (3) give the employee a choice of having the interview without representation or ending the interview.
RULE 3: If the employer denies the request for union representation, and continues to ask questions, it commits an unfair labor practice and the employee has a right to refuse to answer. The employer may not discipline the employee for such a refusal.
Side note: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) during the Clinton administration extended the Weingarten Right in 2000 to non-unionized employees. During the Bush administration, the NLRB essentially reversed that extension by a three to two vote in 2004.