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(Washington, D.C.) Today, in a letter sent to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the National Women’s Law Center (NLWC), the AFL-CIO, and seven other leading women’s organizations asked the German government, a major shareholder of Deutsche Telekom, to press T-Mobile to abandon an employee gag order policy that violates U.S. law and restricts workers’ ability to address sexual harassment and other discrimination. According to an August 2015 judicial decision, T-Mobile call centers in Maine and South Carolina required employees who brought complaints of sexual harassment or other forms of discrimination to human resources to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibited them from discussing their experiences with anyone other than T-Mobile during the company’s investigation. As a result, employees were forbidden from banding together with others who experienced the same harassment or discrimination, and were illegally deterred from bringing complaints with enforcement agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
(Washington, D.C.) Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its September jobs report. The following is a quote from Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security, National Women’s Law Center:
LaShonda Davis says, “NWLC took my case all the way to the Supreme Court and won. As a result, other students who are harassed will get the help that I didn’t, and schools will do more to protect students.”
When I found myself pregnant in August of 2010 it only took a quick calculation to realize the baby was due right smack in the middle of my Spring semester of my junior year of college. Everything was fine until the fourth week of class. I was 40 weeks pregnant, feeling like labor was imminent, and I had a midterm exam that night. After I finished the exam, I went home so that I wouldn’t go into labor in the middle of class. Later, I realized I had received only 5 out of 25 points for “Attendance & Participation” for that day. I emailed the professor asking if she planned to dock me the full 25 points for each class I missed for the birth, and she said ‘yes.’ I had two options: either risk failing the course while giving birth, or withdraw. I withdrew.
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Every year NWLC and other advocacy groups mark women’s equal pay day—how far into the next year women who work full time, year round have to work to make what their male counterparts make in one year alone. Comparing all women and all men, this day usually falls in April—in 2016 the precise day is April 8th—meaning women have to work more than 15 months to make what men made in 12. But for some groups of women, the day they reach equal pay falls much later in the year.
So, you would think a telephone company, of all companies, would want people talking more, not less, right? Well, not if you are a T-Mobile employee and you are complaining of sexual harassment or another form of discrimination. In violation of U.S. law, T-Mobile has been pushing the mute button on its own employees, requiring employees who complain to human resources about workplace abuses to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits them from discussing their experiences with anyone other than T-Mobile during the company’s investigation of the complaint. If employees speak up, they risk discipline or termination.
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