This particular post was drafted by Michael P. DeRose. As stated in a previous post, Michael is a paralegal employed with the Law Offices of Arpaia & Crivelli, L.L.C. Michael will be leaving the office in August, 2008, for purposes of attending Law School in Michigan. While we are very sad to see him leave, we are excited that he has the opportunity to further his education and pursue his dream of becoming attorney. We look forward to his return as a law clerk in the summer of 2009, and truly wish him the very best in law school. 

This is the first of two posts centered on the case of NLRB v. Weingarten, 420 U.S. 251 (1975).

The brave men and women who comprise the long list of New Jersey Public Safety Officers should maintain a solid foundation of knowledge in regard to the rights they possess within the institutions where they are employed. As such, a brief discussion of Weingarten Rights is in order.

The United States’ Supreme Court case known as NLRB v. Weingarten solidified the notion that unionized employees possess the right to obtain union representation during investigatory interviews. This principle applies to both private employee collective bargaining units and public employee collective bargaining units. “Investigatory interviews” as defined under Weingarten can pertain to criminal issues or departmental matters which may lead to discipline. However the invocation of Weingarten rights only applies to investigatory interviews conducted by a supervising authority within the organization where the subject of the interview is employed.  

In particular to Public Safety Officers, investigatory interviews are regularly conducted by agents of an Internal Affairs Department or the Special Investigations Division of their respective organizations. Simply stated, an investigatory interview occurs when a supervising or investigatory authority questions a subordinate to obtain information which could be used as a basis for discipline. The supervising authority is also engaged in conducting an investigatory interview when they ask a subordinate to defend his or her conduct in a formal setting. Weingarten rights only apply to NJ Public Safety Officers who face the possibility of undergoing an investigatory interview.

It is both necessary and essential for law enforcement personnel and first responders to detect when a potential interview qualifies as “investigatory.” An important question to ask one’s self when uncertain of whether the interview is “investigatory” is: “could this interview or its fruits possibly lead to disciplinary action?” If the Public Safety Officer being questioned reasonably believes that the answer to this question is yes, he or she is entitled to have union representation present at the meeting before a question is posed. Also, it is important to note that the supervising authority conducting the investigatory interview is not compelled to advise the subject of his or her Weingarten rights. This is a common misconception that merits mention. It is the responsibility of the Public Safety Officer being questioned to invoke Weingarten to ensure representation is present during the investigatory interview. In the next post we will discuss Weingarten in more detail, and the effect of invoking the rights during an investigatory interview.  

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.