Two Takeaways: Employer Can Limit Union Participation During Employee Interview and Union Lawyer Can Be Weingarten Representative Although Employee’s Private Lawyer Cannot

A security contractor lawfully could silence a worker’s union representatives during an investigative interview and control when the representatives could speak.

The manager who conducted the investigative interview quieted everyone – both management and union officials alike, in a seven-person meeting that had become unruly.

The company’s steps to control a meeting did not violate the employee’s Weingarten rights (the right to union representation during an investigatory interview if they reasonably believed that interview may trigger disciplinary action). The representatives were free to consult with the employee after he finished his written statement, and they could ask their own questions before the meeting ended.

The NLRB clarified that a union lawyer can serve as a Weingarten representative, which had not been previously spelled out in Board law. The Board has ruled that a worker’s private lawyer cannot serve that role.

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can reach Matt by calling him at (614) 843-3041 or emailing him at