Quicken Loans plans to appeal a recent federal labor ruling that the Detroit lender and other companies owned by Dan Gilbert violated employees' rights.

David Goldman, a U.S. administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board, last week found that the employee manual at Gilbert's companies violated 24 provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. The list of companies also includes Title Source, One Reverse Mortgage, In-House Realty, Rock Connections and Fathead.

Quicken Loans told American Banker this week that it plans to file an appeal. "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," the company said in an email Monday.

The case stems from an unfair labor practice charge filed by former Quicken Loans and Title Source employee Hugh MacEachern in February 2015.

It centers on policies that were in the companies' "Big Book" employment manual, including provisions related to social media use, confidentiality and the display of personal items. The policies at issue were overly broad in a manner that could infringe upon workers' rights, the judge ruled.

Part of the employee manual barred employees from sharing nonpublic or operational information, including "anything with a dollar figure attached to it" and client information. The judge deemed the requirements unlawful, but Quicken Loans argues this ruling ignores other requirements regarding client privacy.

"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," the company said.

In December, Quicken Loans and the other companies sent an email to employees saying that all copies of the "Big Book" were rescinded immediately.

If the ruling is appealed, it is likely the case will go before the NLRB's five-member board. If appealed yet again, the case would move to federal court.

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