T-Mobile US interfered with employees’ rights to organize a union through a range of corporate policies, an administrative-law judge at the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday.

Share story

T-Mobile US interfered with employees’ rights to organize a union through a range of corporate policies, an administrative-law judge at the National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday.

The ruling, stemming from separate but similar complaints in New Mexico and South Carolina, found unlawful policies laid out in the Bellevue-based company’s employee handbook, confidentiality agreement, code of business conduct and employee acknowledgment forms.

The complaints were filed by the Communications Workers of America, which already represents employees at Verizon and AT&T and has been trying to unionize T-Mobile’s employees.

Many of T-Mobile’s policies were so broadly written that they would “chill” employees, keeping them from exercising their right to organize or talk to union representatives, the ruling says.

While T-Mobile can require employees to follow internal protocols if they have complaints about their pay or hours, it must also make clear that workers can’t be prevented from discussing the disputes with other employees or third parties, the judge wrote.

Other issues include restrictive email and media policies, and a confidentiality agreement that the judge ruled could prevent workers from talking with one another or with the media about labor disputes or working conditions.

The judge ordered T-Mobile to immediately revise or rescind those policies. It also must post notices explaining the changes at all its facilities nationwide and electronically inform its approximately 45,000 T-Mobile and MetroPCS employees.

T-Mobile downplayed the ruling in an emailed statement. “This is simply a ruling about a technical issue in the law that relates to policies that are common to companies across the country,” it said. “There are no allegations that any employee has been impacted by these policies.”