Return to Your Rights as an Employee
- Ensure you are given all documents before answering questions.
- Rview all documents carefully before discussion begins.
- Ask to speak to a Union Representative before discussion.
- Ask for a witness of choice.
- Give only answers you know are accurate. Do not guess, speculate or draw conclusions.
- Take notes. Do not voluntarily sign any document you did not write.
- Take time to collect your thoughts before writing a report.
You may be the subject of a company investigation in two situations.
- If management suspects you of violating a company rule.
- If management suspects that you have information regarding another employee suspected of violating a company rule.
A Flight Attendant has certain obligations and specific rights throughout a company investigation.
You have the obligation to answer management's questions truthfully and candidly to the best of your knowledge. Management has the right to ask questions regarding your actions provided the questions are related to the company's business. They do not have the right to ask personal questions unless there is a relationship between your actions and the company's business.
- Management may ask if you wore uniform items while off duty in a specific restaurant to determine if you could be identified as a UAL employee during an incident.
- It would not be appropriate for management to ask how often you attend church or what religion you follow.
In an investigatory conference, let management ask the questions. If the questions are too general, ask the investigator/supervisor to focus more specifically on what she/he needs to know.
Respond with specific answers, which you know to be correct. Do not guess. Do not volunteer information, which is only speculative. If you do not know the answer to a question, state precisely, "I do not know". Do not draw conclusions.
Protect yourself. Ask for paper and take notes of management's questions and your answers. You may be sure that management will be noting every word you state.
The company may ask you to submit a written statement of the incident under investigation.
If you feel confident that you are able to collect your thoughts to write an accurate statement of what you personally saw or heard during an incident, complete your statement.
If, however, the hour is late (some investigations have begun at midnight following a long duty day) and you are fatigued or apprehensive, request management to give you time to collect your thoughts in order that your statement can be accurate.
If the company then orders you to write a statement immediately, you must comply but you may protect yourself by including in your statement whatever below is appropriate.
1. I am submitting this statement under a direct order.
2. I am feeling fatigued and under duress and, therefore, cannot accept responsibility
for any inaccuracy.
3. I have offered to submit my statement after sufficient rest.
At times, management has written statements based on oral statements of Flight Attendants. The Flight Attendant has been handed a statement and told to sign it.
Do not voluntarily sign any statement not written by you in your words. If you are given a direct order to sign any statement not written by you, comply and add the following to your signature:
"My signature is not voluntary but is executed from a direct order from supervisor ______________________________________."
Under the Contract, management must comply with the following provisions:
Section 26.F.8. requires that in any discussion which may lead to discipline, the company must provide you with all related documents and reports before the discussion begins. This Section was negotiated to protect you from entrapment if you are accused of wrongdoing. Take the time you need to review these documents carefully before you answer any questions. Often a management representative from Inflight Service will ask the questions. Sometimes a member from United's Corporate Security with FBI experience will interrogate you. However, anyone (regardless of the department) asking you questions is required to comply with the due process provisions of the Contract.
Section 26.F.6. gives you the right to a witness of your choice if more than one management person is present at a conference. In addition, the company has agreed, in writing, to commit to the following:
- To offer Flight Attendants who themselves may become subject
to discipline, a right to confer with a Union Representative prior to the conference or investigation. If the Flight Attendant requests the opportunity, such a request will be honored so long as it will not disrupt or cause a lengthy delay in the conference or investigation.
- In a "one-on-one" situation, if a Flight Attendant requests a witness,
we will accommodate that request if feasible so long as the matter being discussed in and of itself could result in the discharge of that Flight Attendant. This would not include conferences dealing with progressive discipline.
(Written by C. Thomson, EXOIR, 11/9/84)
You Must Initiate the Request to make use of the Above Rights
It is in your best interest to contact a Union Representative for advice before you begin an investigatory discussion. In addition, a witness of your choice can take notes of the conversation. A witness can refute any inaccuracies stated by the company in subsequent grievance proceedings.
The company may claim that because you are not accused of wrongdoing and it is only gathering information to complete an investigation, the due process rights under the Contract do not apply to you. Even if you are not the subject of an investigation, you should still request documents (26.F.8.) in order to have correct information on which to base the statements you give the company. It is also advisable to contact a Union Representative. Remember, the company may subsequently charge you with submitting false information if your statements are found to be inaccurate.
Return to Your Rights as an Employee