Your Right to Representation
Whenever you are required by a supervisor or manager to give verbal or written statements which may lead to discipline against you, or whenever you are called to a meeting where discipline will be imposed:
- You have the right to request the presence of a VSEA Representative (Steward or Representative); and
- The VSEA Representative shall have the right to accompany you to the meeting.
If your employer questions you on a matter that may subject you to criminal liability: You should immediately contact your private attorney or VSEA Headquarters for help. While you are required to answer your employer’s questions, you do not want to accidentally waive important Constitutional protections that you are entitled to in any resulting criminal proceedings. This is a highly technical area of the law and you should seek VSEA’s help.
If the employer orders you to answer questions without your VSEA Representative present:
- Ask your employer ON THE RECORD, if you are being ordered to answer questions. If you are ORDERED to answer the questions, you should state, ON THE RECORD, before answering any and all questions that you have requested VSEA representation and that you are NOT waiving your Constitutional rights against self-incrimination and will not answer any further questions until you have counseled with your union of your attorney.
Your Right to Participate in Union Activity
It’s against the law for an employer or supervisor to “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees” who choose to exercise their rights to belong to and participate in union activities.
Managers and supervisors cannot:
- Discriminate against an employee based on union membership;
- Discriminate in regard to hiring or tenure, layoff or discharge against an employee for union activity; 3. Threaten, harass, intimidate, or retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint or grievance;
- Tell a worker that s/he will be punished or fired for union membership or activity;
- Create adverse or discriminatory working conditions for an employee because of his/her union activity;
- Ask an employee about confidential union issues or complaint/grievance activity that may be pending; and
- Prohibit an employee from meeting with a union representative or Steward to discuss a complaint or grievance without demonstrating an overriding work conflict.
If you are ever uncertain about what to do in any of these situations, contact VSEA Headquarters: