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December 02, 2003
T-Mobile Workers' Pockets Ring with $4.7M in Back Wages

T-Mobile, a provider of wireless telecommunication services, has agreed to pay 20,546 workers $4,779,985 in back wages to settle allegations that the company violated the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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"T-Mobile worked closely with the department, and we appreciate their efforts to voluntarily resolve these difficult overtime issues," says Tammy D. McCutchen, administrator of the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. "When employers like T-Mobile are willing to work with the department in a cooperative manner, everyone benefits because we are able to get wages back to employees quickly and efficiently."

The department says that an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division at three of the firm's call centers found that customer care representatives were not recording preparatory activities performed prior to the start of their shift and thus were not paid. Federal law requires that such preparatory activities are work time that must be compensated, according to the department. After the company was made aware of the violations, it worked cooperatively with the department to compute the back wages at all of its call centers for the three-year period from December 16, 2000, to October 4, 2003, and to come into compliance, according to the department.

The employees worked at 13 call center locations in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Tennessee, Florida, and Alabama.

A consent judgment agreeing to the payment of the back wages and future compliance with the overtime and recordkeeping requirements of the FLSA was filed November 25, 2003, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The court must approve the consent decree.

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