Weingarten Rights

City of Round Rock firefighter, Jaime Rodriguez, and the Round Rock Fire Fighters Association filed suit against the City of Round Rock and its fire chief, seeking a declaration that the fire chief's refusal to allow Rodriguez’s union representative to be present at a disciplinary interview violated Rodriguez's representation rights. The Travis County District Court granted summary judgment for Rodriguez, and the city and fire chief appealed. On appeal, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin considered whether Section 101.001 of the Texas Labor Code provides municipal employees represented by a labor organization with rights equivalent to so-called “Weingarten rights”—a private employee's right, upon request, to representation by a labor organization during an internal investigatory interview when the employee reasonably believes the interview may result in disciplinary action—named for the 1975 U.S. Supreme Court decision National Labor Relations Board v. J. Weingarten, Inc. The Austin Court of Appeals held that Section 101.001 affords rights equivalent to “Weingarten rights” to public employees. The city and fire chief appealed the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

TASB LAF joined the Texas Municipal League, Texas City Attorneys Association, and Texas Association of Counties in filing a brief with the Texas Supreme Court arguing that Texas Labor Code Section 101.001 does not apply to public sector employees.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment that section 101.001 of the Labor Code does not confer on public-sector employees in Texas the right to union representation at an investigatory interview that the employee reasonably believes might result in disciplinary action. City of Round Rock v. Rodriguez, 399 S.W.3d 130 (Tex. Apr. 5, 2013). LAF’s Attorney: Laura F. Hill, Texas Municipal League, Austin.