Know Your Rights - Weingarten Rights
| Your Weingarten Rights as a KAP Member | Know the Limits of the Weingarten Rights |
| “Red Flag” Moments | Your Rights as a Non-Member Paraeducator |
| Union Representation Request Script | Your Designated KAP Union Representatives |
| Weingarten Rights: Resources and References |
The rights of unionized employees to have a union representative present during certain investigatory interviews were announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1975 case (NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc. 420 U.S. 251,88 LRRM 2689). These rights have become known as the Weingarten rights.
Employees have Weingarten rights only during investigatory interviews: An investigatory interview occurs when an administrator or supervisor questions an employee to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline or asks an employee to defend their conduct. If an employee has a reasonable belief that discipline or other adverse consequences may result from what they, the employee has the right to request KAP Union Representation to be present. When the employee makes the request for a KAP Union Representative to be present, management has three options:
£ They can stop questioning until the representative arrives
£ They can call off the interview
£ They can tell the employee that they will call off the interview unless the employee voluntarily gives up their rights to a KAP Union Representative (an option the employee should always refuse)
Employers will often assert that the only role of a union representative in an investigatory interview is to observe the ongoing discussion. The NLRA has established the following rules regarding Weingarten representation:
£ Management must inform the KAP Union Representative of the subject of the interrogation/questioning
£ The KAP Union Representative must also be allowed to speak privately with the employee before the meeting/interview
£ During the interview, the KAP Union Representative cannot argue with the employer, but can interrupt to clarify a question or to object to confusing or intimidating tactics
£ While the interview/meeting is in progress, the KAP Union Representative cannot tell the employee what to say but they may advise the employee on how to answer a question
£ At the end of the interview the KAP Union Representative can add information to support the employee's case.
Just as it is important to understand what your Weingarten rights are, it is important to understand their limitations as well:
£ You are not entitled to a KAP Union Representative present every time a supervisor wants to talk to you: Remember, if the discussion begins to change into questioning that could lead to discipline, you have the right to ask for representation before the conversation goes any further.
£ If you are called to go into the supervisor's office for an investigation, you cannot refuse to go without a KAP representative. All you can do is refuse to answer questions until your KAP Union Representative gets there and you've had a chance to talk things over with them.
There are moments in the life of an education employee that should cause concern and “raise red flags” for a school employee before participating in a meeting with a building administrator or supervisor. Many times, school employees will acquiesce or submit to questioning without representation. That is not a wise decision. The following list of phrases and situations commonly occur. When faced with the situations and phrases listed, members should take it as a silent signal that it’s time to find the first available association representative.
O You may need a KAP Building Representative when a building administrator says, “I just want to talk to you for a minute.” And then:
£ You walk into the office and a parent and the administrator are seated on the same side of the table
£ There are at least two KSD administrators or even the superintendent in the office to meet with you and they didn’t tell you what the meeting was about.
O You may need a KAP Building Representative when the administrator starts getting “hot‐under‐the‐collar” with you and you’re alone.
O You may need a KAP Building Representative when the administrator says, “I’ve had some parent complaints about you.”
O You may need a KAP Building Representative when the administrator says, “I have some concerns we need to talk about.”
O You may need a KAP Building Representative when the building administrator says, “There are rumors in the community about you that we need to discuss.”
O You DEFINITELY NEED a KAP Union Representative when the building administrator says, “Do you want a building rep?” THE ANSWER IS AWAYS, “YES!”
If a building administrator is offering representation before the meeting takes place, the member must take it as a clue that the meeting is probably not going to be a happy event.
O You DEFINITELY NEED a KAP Union Representative when the building administrator uses the following word in the course of the meeting: employment status, discipline, termination, or negative evaluation.
The protections and guidelines for representation under the Weingarten Rights only apply to current members of a union such as KAP. Managements is not required to follow any of the rights and rules listed above. However, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) made between KAP and the Kent School District (KSD) governs the rules, accommodations, and regulations of all Paraeducators employed by KSD, you do have the right to ask for KAP Union Representation for any treatment or actions by a supervisor or administrator that violates or otherwise goes against the articles of the CBA.
“If this discussion could in any way lead to my
Without representation, I choose not to answer any questions.”
When the situation calls for an employee to request KAP Union Representation, the first point of contact is a KAP Building Representative. The Building Representative has a unique understanding of each building’s unique culture and climate, as well as having a working relationship with both the employees and the supervisor or administrator. KAP Building Representatives are trained and equipped to properly support and advocate for each and every Paraeducator within their building.
If a KAP Building Representative is unavailable, or if the employee in question is the Building Representative, employees can also request to have KAP Union Representation from a member of the KAP Executive Team (specifically the KAP President or Vice President). As the chief representatives of all KAP union members and are charged with protecting CBA compliance for all KSD Paraeducators, the KAP Executive Team members have the rights, knowledge, and duty to ensure that all KSD paraeducators and KAP members have proper advocation when the employee is facing management.
£ Download a Personal Copy of your Weingarten Rights
£ Download a Current Copy of the KAP Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
£ Visit The US Department of Labor’s Weingarten Rights Page
£ Find your KAP Building Representative
£ Learn more about the KAP Executive Team
£ Unlock your full Weingarten Rights by Becoming A KAP Member
The information contained on this page has been adapted and repurposed from the Washington Education Association (WEA).
To view the Weingarten Rights information KAP modified from the WEA website, click here.