The 1975 US Supreme Court case of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. J. Weingarten established that employees have a right to union representation at investigatory interviews; this is now known as your Weingarten Rights. The NLRB serves private sector employees.
Subsequently, public sector employees were granted Weingarten rights in the 1984 case of Redwoods Community College v Public Employee Relations Board (PERB).
However, the employee must request union representation before or during the interview. Employers may give the employee a choice of continuing the interview without representation. A PCC faculty member should never forego union representation even if the interview seems informal, the issue is of little importance, or the interviewer appears casual and friendly.
Recently, attorney David Bezemek outlined five critical concepts that all PCC faculty should be aware of:
Faculty shall not be investigated without “Just Cause.”
Faculty and their union representatives are entitled to all information that is relevant and necessary to the case, including any preliminary documents and final reports from the college employer. Additionally, the faculty member and the union are entitled to record all meetings and/or obtain copies of recordings.
A faculty member has a right to union representation when he or she “reasonably believes” discipline may result.
When a faculty member is placed on Paid Leave they are entitled to their emails and may enter campus for specific tasks.
The college may not require a faculty member on Paid Leave to remain silent. The burden of confidentiality rests on the District — a “gag order” per se is not legal. Weingarten Rights are firmly rooted in rule of law and numerous disciplinary cases. Call the PCCFA office immediately if you are facing any kind of disciplinary action.