Registered Nurses: Use Your Weingarten Rights NOW
You and your fellow nurses have a set of very important legal rights in the workplace called Weingarten Rights. These rights help you protect your nursing license and your employment.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an employee is entitled to have a union representative present during any interview that may result in discipline. If you are called into a meeting with your charge nurse, supervisor, and/or manager, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Ask what the subject of the meeting is and whether the meeting is regarding something that could lead to your being disciplined
- Request a union representative be called into the meeting if management says the meeting could lead to discipline or termination or affect your personal working conditions OR if you have a reasonable belief that this is the case.
- We recommend you make a statement such as:
“If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I request that my union representative be present at the meeting. Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions. This is my right under the ‘Weingarten’ Supreme Court decision.”
- Do NOT refuse to attend the meeting if you are denied your right to have a union representative present. We suggest you go through with the meeting while repeatedly asserting your right to a union representative. If an official union representative is not available, ask for a coworker to serve as a witness and record what is said.
- If your manager insists on continuing the conversation, take notes and do not answer questions. When the meeting ends and you believe that you have been treated unfairly, immediately make arrangements to meet with your Grievance Representative or with your staff council leadership.
Remember two things:
You have a guaranteed right to organize and a guaranteed right, at all levels, to participate equally in decision making that affects your job and your ability to provide safe, high quality patient care.
It is illegal for a supervisor/manager to harass, interrogate or intimidate you during that process.