T-Mobile and its parent company Deutsche Telekom are appealing an order from the US Department of Labor to reinstate an employee who was allegedly fired for raising concerns about fraudulent charges, The Seattle Times reports. On Thursday, the Department announced that Seattle's Occupational Safety and Health Administration had investigated and found that the employee's complaint about being fired for "raising concerns about the possibility of millions of dollars in fraudulent roaming charges being levied on hundreds of international corporate customers" was valid.
"This preliminary conclusion is incorrect and was made without the benefit of a trial process."
In response, the Department of Labor is ordering T-Mobile to pay $244,479 in back wages and interest, $65,000 in damages, and $36,493 in attorney's fees. It must also reinstate the employee, providing a neutral reference if they go elsewhere, and make sure other workers are aware of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which protects whistleblowers. According to the Times, a spokeswoman says the Department of Labor does not have jurisdiction to investigate the possible fraud, which the employee apparently questioned in 2009.
T-Mobile, meanwhile, has issued a statement saying it will appeal the decision. "This preliminary conclusion is incorrect, not based on the evidence, and was made without the benefit of a trial process," it says. "T-Mobile will appeal this preliminary conclusion and looks forward to presenting its evidence at trial. T-Mobile acted appropriately and within the law in terminating the individual's employment." This appeal must be filed within the next 30 days.