When an employer held a pre-disciplinary investigative interview of an employee for possible fraudulent Medicaid billing and timekeeping practices, a coworker who served as the union steward attended the interview as the employee’s Weingarten representative. During the interview, the union steward repeatedly asked the employer to explain the purpose of the questioning, and the union steward advised the employee not to answer certain questions until the employer provided additional details. After the employee refused to answer, she was suspended and later resigned.
The employer then turned its investigation for Medicaid fraud toward the union steward and required him to provide documentation confirming his immigration status and automobile insurance, restricted his access to its facilities other than the one housing his workstation, and placed him on a 10-day suspension for obstruction of the interview. These actions violated the Act. According to the Board, the union steward lawfully assisted a co-worker when advising her not to answer certain questions.