Judge finds Quicken handbook violates labor rules

The Detroit News

Quickens Loans and affiliated companies intend to challenge a judge’s ruling that it violated federal rules with an employee handbook that discouraged workers from complaining about the business online.

In a 62-page Thursday ruling, National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge David Goldman took issue with several policies outlined in 230-page handbook known as “the Big Book,” finding that some would prevent employees from forming a union.

The companies — Quicken Loans, In-House Realty, One Reverse Mortgage, Fathead LLC, Rock Connections LLC and Title Source Inc. — “rescinded all versions of the rule book on Dec. 4,” according to the judge’s order. The companies have twice denied violating federal rules, the ruling stated.

A since-deleted passage of the rulebook read:

“Think before you Tweet. Or post, comment or pin. What you share can live forever. If it doesn’t belong on the front page of the New York Times, don’t put it online.

“Keep it confidential. What shouldn’t you share? Non-public financial or operational information. This includes strategies, forecasts, communication that requires a disclaimer, and anything with a dollar figure attached to it (rates, programs, quotes, client information, salaries, etc.)

“Something wrong at QL? Don’t take it online. Resolve work-related concerns by speaking directly with your Team Leader or Team Relations Specialist.”

Goldman found that the passages were overly broad and ordered the company to eliminate rules that require workers to keep confidential such things as complaints, investigations, social media use and troubles with the company.

Quicken released a statement criticizing the ruling as setting a “dangerous precedent.”

“It is disconcerting that the NLRB found fault with common, rational and sensible workplace policies that no reasonable employee would object to in any manner, such as prohibiting team members from posting offensive content on social media or using company resources for personal business,” the statement read.

“Even more disturbing, the NLRB found that our company’s policies related to restricting the public distribution of private client information was a violation of labor regulations. Not only is this outrageous and misguided, but the NLRB ruling conflicts with several other sensible federal and state laws that were enacted to protect highly sensitive and private information that lenders routinely obtain from borrowers during the loan process.”