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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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