PA Supreme Court – Weingarten Rights Belong to Employee

Many employers know that a union employee may be accompanied by a union representative during an interview in which the employee reasonably fears that discipline may be imposed by the employer.  This right is known as a Weingarten right, named after a famous US Supreme Court case that clearly outlined the right.
Recently, the PA Supreme Court considered the contours of that right, considering the question of whose right this really is.  In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board and Pennsylvania State Corrections  Officers Association, the Court considered a situation in which an employee requested that a different representative be provided than the one that was present.  The employer denied the request, and the union filed an unfair labor practices charge.

After consideration, the Court held that the employee in fact did have the right to choose whichever representative he wanted, as long as the desired representative is reasonably available.  Be careful, therefore, to remember that the employee may choose his or her representative, and it is not sufficient simply to demonstrate that just any other union member was present for a disciplinary interview.

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