Judge: Dan Gilbert companies violated federal labor laws with threatening, anti-union rules

Photo by Steve Neavling.
Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Six Dan Gilbert companies violated the National Labor Relations Act for overly broad, threatening language in a “confidential” employee handbook that prevented the formation of unions and censored workers.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the “Big Book,” which was handed out to about 16,000 employees, contained strongly worded language that amounts to “unfair labor practices” in about 25 instances.

Judge David Goldman of the National Labor Relations Board ordered the companies Thursday to remove the “overly broad rules” in the handbook.

The companies in violation were Quicken Loans, One Reverse Mortgage, In-House Realty, Rock Connections, Title Source and Fathead.

Quicken Loans responded that the ruling sets “a dangerous precedent” and pledged to challenge the decision.

In one section of the “Big Book,” employees were barred from posting just about anything online.

“If it doesn’t belong on the front page of the New York Times, don’t put it online,” the handbook reads.

Employees also were prohibited from talking about their jobs, especially to the media.

The judge ordered the companies to notify employees that “we violated federal labor laws” and to notify them that they have the right to “form, join or assist a union”

The companies have removed the language from the handbooks.

Gilbert’s restrictive rules on social media didn’t adhere to him when he called Motor City Muckraker a “dirty scumbag” in April 2015.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Jeff Keathley

    Anyone really surprised by this? Dan Gilbert is the same guy being sued by the Feds for mortgage fraud.

  • tml

    Worked at a restaurant called Haydens. They made us sign a form that barred employees from posting anything on facebook or social media. This was right after I threatened to make a work hazard (bucket for a year long ‘temporary’ drain cover in the middle of the high traffic dish pit) a meem on reddit. I am so glad to be poor and working for myself vs. making money from a corporation that doesn’t regard the right to worker dissent. Healthy workplace dissent offers problem solving by pointing out the flaws in Athens!

  • Soul_of_Wit

    I work for QL, and I am not barred from posting online. That’s a silly statement. I can also assure you that the legendary big book does not “prevent the formation of unions” (nor do I have the slightest idea how a book could actually do that.)

  • Dale Ochalek

    Nice work. Gilbert – A scumbag calling some else a scumbag?
    These folks get nothing but good, even adoring press. If they are being shitheads, we ought to know, but we don’t because of the fanning of the so-called free press.

  • Stephen Paraski

    Carpet Bagger.

  • Klann Killa

    It’s just a matter of time before Dan’s day comes. Dan truly is a dirty scumbag.

  • Klann Killa

    It’s just a matter of time before Dan’s day comes. Dan truly is a dirty scumbag.

  • Third World Detroit

    Sounds like a great place to work.