In situations where bargaining unit employees are being interrogated by an Agency representative in preparation for a proceeding before a third party, like arbitration, where the union is either a party to the proceeding or acting as a representative, the agency representative must comply with the following safeguards to mitigate the potentially coercive effects of the situation in order to protect employees’ rights under the Section 7102 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (5 United States Code Chapter 71):
- Inform the employee of the purpose of the questioning, that his/her participation is voluntary, and that no reprisal will occur if he/she refuses;
- Ensure that the questioning occurs in a non-coercive (non-threatening) context; and
- Limit the questions to the scope of the legitimate purpose of the inquiry, i.e., to the existence of relevant facts, as opposed to the Union’s strategy or what questions the Union asked.
Reference: 9 FLRA No. 132 Internal Revenue Service and Brookhaven Service Center and National Treasury Employees Union and National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 99