Nebraska Association of Public Employees

Newsletter Articles

Your Rights

“Can you stop by my office at 2pm? I’m doing an investigation and I have some questions for you.” Any statement like this from your supervisor is sure to send you into a nervous panic. When a situation like this presents itself, stay calm and make sure you know your rights!

As a NAPE contract covered employee, you cannot be disciplined or terminated without due process. This means your employer must fairly investigate any complaints or problems, present you with the allegations, and offer you an opportunity to defend yourself prior to any discipline being administered. The most common first step is to call you in for a meeting. This is probably the most important step in the process, and you should never attend such a meeting alone.

All employees represented by a NAPE contract have the right to have a union representative with them for any meeting or conversation that they reasonably believe may lead to them being disciplined in any way – including a simple verbal warning all the way through termination. Your representative can be any member of the union, but most typically it is a steward or a member of NAPE’s professional staff. Your supervisor is under no obligation to let you know you are entitled to this representation, and you must tell them you want union representation.

When the supervisor first approaches you, it is common to feel nervous and anxious. In an effort to quickly address the issue, many members simply meet with the supervisor, assuming they can deal with the problem and get back to work. But remember, this is the first step in a process, and when the facts get clouded at the initial meeting, it becomes much more difficult to sort out at a later date. The union representative’s job is to take good notes, make sure management asks appropriate questions, and to keep the interview focused.

So what should you do when your supervisor approaches you to meet? Follow these simple steps:

  • Tell your supervisor that you are glad to meet with them, and you want your union representative to attend the meeting with you.
  • Contact your steward or the NAPE office (402) 486-3911 immediately.
  • If the steward or staff member can’t attend the meeting as scheduled, they will work with your supervisor to reschedule. The meeting must be postponed until your representative can arrive. That could mean the meeting will be moved to another day.
    • Do not meet with your supervisor alone in order to get the meeting over with. Nothing good has ever come from a rushed meeting without a representative.
  • Stay calm. We are here to support you.
Nebraska Association of Public Employees