Government Finds that T-Mobile Worker Was Fired for Complaining About Bogus Roaming Charges

T-Mobile USA and its corporate parent ordered to pay a fired whistleblower $346,000. The U.S. Labor Department’s order against Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany stemmed from its investigation into the employee’s firing in 2009. Officials found that the dismissal was triggered by concerns the employee raised about “the possibility of millions of dollars in fraudulent roaming charges being levied on hundreds of international corporate customers.” T-Mobile also was ordered to reinstate the employee. The order includes $244,479 in back wages and interest, $65,000 in compensatory damages and $36,493 in attorney’s fees. T-Mobile said it will appeal. The Associated Press, OSHA

Egg donor recruiters violate ethical guidelines, study says. Researchers found that many organizations recruiting egg donors online, for couples seeking in vitro fertilization, fall short of guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The group recommends that donors be at least 21. It allows donors between ages 18 and 20, but only if they first have a psychiatric evaluation. Also, women are not to be paid for their eggs, but all donors should be compensated equally for their time. Yet the researchers, who checked on 102 online recruiters, found that 34 percent of the websites offered higher payment for certain traits. They also found that more than 40 percent of sites recruited women ages 18 to 20. Reuters

Mexico suspends work at 32 coal mines amid safety fears. The Mexican government ordered the suspension of work at the small mines in the northern state of Coahuila. It also issued an ultimatum to Binsa, the mine operator: Improve working conditions or lose your mining licenses. The last three weeks have been deadly for coal miners in Mexico, with 13 workers losing their lives in two explosions. Coal extraction is a major industry in Coahuila, where many small mines have operated largely without regulation for more than a century. A 2006 explosion at a larger mine in the state killed 65 workers. Reuters

Common practice among utilities may add dangerous amounts of lead to drinking water. The water utilities often replace sections of deteriorating lead service lines rather than the entire lines. The problem is that partial pipe replacements can shake loose lead fragments that were dormant, pushing them into a homeowner’s water. In addition, the connections joining old lead pipes to new copper ones, using brass fittings, spur corrosion that can increase the lead released into drinking water. Yet residents aren’t always told about the hazard. “The magnitude of this problem is huge,” said one expert. He said federal environmental officials are “really deeply concerned about this …. This was not something they expected.”  Investigative Reporting Workshop

Workplace safety regulators cite employers in Alabama and Ohio.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused Birmingham, Ala.,-based Scholar Craft Products, which does business as Melsur Corp., with exposing workers to “unguarded equipment, potential falls and combustible dust hazards.” The agency, which cited 25 violations, is seeking fines of up to $94,500. Separately, OSHA accused a Hebco Products plant in Bucyrus, Ohio with 14 safety offenses, including two repeat violations of failing to guard machines to prevent amputations. OSHA is seeking penalties of up to $95,700 from the company, which makes machine parts. Birmingham Business JournalOSHA

Recalls: Ford Transit Connect vans

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein and Bridget Huber

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