T-Mobile US workers have regained their right to speak out at work and other important rights on the job. The National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit have ordered T-Mobile to rescind its illegal workplace rules, to notify all workers that this action has been taken, and to correct the current employee handbook and other work rules.
T-Mobile was cited by the NLRB and the Court for 12 illegal workplace rules. T-Mobile workers, with the support of T-Mobile Workers United and CWA, fought back against this corporate gag rule that affected tens of thousands of workers.
A judge found that, among other things, T-Mobile's illegal job rules were written such that:
- Workers were barred from discussing their wages and salaries with coworkers, the public, their union, or government investigators.
- Workers were prohibited from disclosing and discussing other terms and conditions of employment, thanks to a vague and far-reaching confidentiality policy.
- Workers were prohibited from using cameras or any other electronic devices to document unsafe conditions in the workplace or other problems.
- Workers were prohibited from disclosing the identity of those involved in company investigations, keeping workers from working together to fight issues like sexual harassment.
- Workers were required, under threat of firing, to sign a form stating that they would comply with the company's illegal rules and report anyone who violated the illegal rules – i.e., report those who exercise their rights under the law.
T-Mobile workers welcomed the decision, which came after years of hearings and appeals by the company. According to Justin Smith, a Messaging Specialist at the call center in Wichita, Kan., "This is a big win for employees and another indication that unless we take a stand to force T-Mobile to follow the rules, they won't. It demonstrates the power of collective action."
Victoria Singer, a Retail Support Representative at a call center in Albuquerque, N.M., said, "T-Mobile is right in line with corporate America, implementing a multitude of rules meant to keep workers from talking to each other about our pay and working conditions. It's a blatant attempt to keep us from organizing to improve our jobs and our lives. I'm proud to have been part of an effort to expose these illegal rules for what they are."