|KNOW Your Rights|
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
To fully understand your rights on the job it is important to completely understand the rights that you have have living in the United States. These rights stem from your Constitutional 5th Amendment Rights against self-incrimination. Furthermore, the 14th Amendment broadens the scope of the 5th Amendment to protect employees at the state, county & municipal level through your Garrity Rights.
Thanks to Supreme Court ruling Public employees under investigation or in an interview that could lead to discipline can exercise their Weingarten Rights. As school district employees the Supreme Court ruled to grant Loudermill Rights which allow for Due Process in the event you are fired.
Below is a scenario in which your Weingarten Rights, Garrity Rights & Loudermill rights could coexist in the event you are faced with a work related incident. This demonstrates that YOU, as a public employee, have clearly defined rights. And as such, you and your representative MUST have a good understanding of these three sets of rights.
A public employee in a unionized unit is summoned to their supervisor’s office for questioning. Having a reasonable belief that the questioning is an investigatory interview for the purpose of determining possible disciplinary action, the employee invokes his/her Weingarten Rights and requests union representation for the meeting.
Once the union representative arrives and the questioning begins, it becomes clear that the investigation involves potentially criminal misconduct. Therefore, the union representative and the employee secure an affirmation from the supervisor stating that the questioning is for disciplinary purposes only, that the employees’ answers will not be used in a criminal proceeding, and that failure to answer will result in termination. Now the employee is protected by their Garrity Rights.
A few days later, the employee receives notification that management wishes to meet again, and that they believe they have grounds for terminating the employee for misconduct, based on the answers provided at the investigatory interview. The notification states that at this meeting, management will explain why they think they have grounds for termination, and the employee will have the opportunity to respond. This satisfies the employee’s Loudermill Rights.
Watch the following video for further understanding and insight into how you can protect your rights.