Q & A Session – Right to Union Representation


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I was told by my supervisor that I had to meet with her and that I did not need a union representative although I requested one to be present. I wanted the union present to discuss my functional statement as it related to a job assignment. I also wanted the union present because of the terrible relationship I have with my immediate supervisor. My supervisor has been known to stretch the truth and has threatened disciplinary action against me before but never went through with it. This time she wrote a letter of reprimand for my refusal to meet with her. Is this legal and what can I do?


You are only entitled to a union representative in a formal meeting with your supervisor or in a meeting that could lead to disciplinary action. A meeting to discuss a work assignment does not meet either criteria. 

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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