Peer Review Meetings Warrant Weingarten Rights

A hospital informed two nurses that a peer review committee had reviewed cases in which they may have “exhibited unprofessional conduct.” The employees’ request for union representation at follow-up meetings was denied. If those follow-up meetings determined that unprofessional conduct occurred, the hospital was required, by state statute, to report such conduct to the state Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing would then determine whether any action should be taken against the employees. Under Weingarten, an employee has a right to be represented at an investigatory interview if the employee has a reasonable belief that the interview may result in disciplinary action. Although the peer review meetings did not directly result in employee discipline, they could have resulted in discipline through the state Board of Nursing. This, according to the National Labor Relations Board, was connection enough to rule that these meetings fell within Weingarten and the employees were entitled to union representation.

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at maustin@ralaw.com.

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