NLRBheldthat American Medical
Response of Southern California ("AMR") did not violate
an employee's rights during a police investigation of an
EMT's gun violence threat by not providing the EMT with a union
In November 2015, an EMT working in San Bernardino County, CA
learned that the Operations Manager planned to fire the EMT's
girlfriend. The EMT responded by telling his coworker, "if
things go the way they are looking, I'll come shoot everyone
here." Concerned, the coworker reported the EMT to
In response, the Operations Manager drove to the nearby police
department and asked an officer for guidance on how to handle the
situation. The officer came to AMR's facility, spoke with the
EMT while the Operations Manager was present, and performed a
threat assessment. Although the Operations Manager was present
during the officer's interview with the EMT, the Operations
Manager did not ask any questions during the interview. The Company
later decided to terminate the EMT's employment.
The EMT filed an unfair labor practice charge alleging that AMR
had refused his requests for union representation during the
interview. Under NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S.
251, 256 (1975), an employee represented by a union has the right
to request that a union representative be present during an
investigatory interview which the employee reasonably believes
could result in disciplinary action. In order to invoke this right,
the employee must make a request for union representation. It is
not the employer's responsibility to inform the employee of his
Contrary to the EMT's assertions, the administrative law
judge ("ALJ") found that the EMT did not request union
representation, and thus, was not entitled to union representation.
The ALJ's findings were based in part on not crediting the
EMT's testimony. In making this finding, the ALJ noted some
inconsistencies in his story. The ALJ also noted that on several
occasions in the past, the EMT had requested and had been given
union representation. Furthermore, the ALJ found that because the
EMT demonstrated a thorough knowledge of his Weingarten
rights, it did not make sense that he waited to complain about not
receiving union representation until three months after the
interview — when he filed his charge.
Notably, the ALJ also found that the EMT was not entitled to
union representation because the interview was not an
"investigative interview" for which the
Weingarten rights applied. Rather, the interview was a
police interrogation. Therefore, the EMT's Weingarten
rights did not apply. Thus, not every meeting with employees
constitutes an investigative interview under Weingarten,
and even if an investigative interview does take place, the
employee must actually request union representation to invoke his
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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