In Landmark Ruling, Judge Says Mortgage Bankers Have Right To Engage In "Profanity-Laced" Rants About Clients In The Bathroom

Remember where you were when this verdict came down.
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A safe space.

Having a rough day at the office and need to blow off a little steam vis-à-vis all the clients you wish would use their brains before calling you to talk about problems that, frankly, you don't give a damn about? Ask a colleague to meet you in the nearest restroom for a little sounding off and it's all good.

Quicken Loans violated federal labor law when it fired a banker accused of griping about the job in the restroom, a National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled, saying the profanity-laced conversation was protected activity and that the man who overheard the exchange from a restroom stall accused the wrong employee. Administrative Law Judge Dickie Montemayor said Quicken Loans Inc. must rehire mortgage banker Austin Laff and pay him for lost earnings, as well as remove workplace rules he found to be unlawful restraints on employees’ rights to discuss working conditions. In February 2015, Laff said he had asked a co-worker, Michael Woods, how his day was going when they crossed paths in the restroom, and Woods said, “It’s been kind of crazy.” Woods then complained about a client he’d been assigned to help, but who had already received refinancing services four years ago. According to Laff, Woods then said, “Why doesn’t he call a client care specialist and stop wasting my fucking time?” Jorge Mendez, another employee, was in a restroom stall and overheard the conversation.

After he left the bathroom, he sent out an email to every employee in the office blasting the conversation. “Never, EVER should we be swearing in the bathroom especially about clients. Also, please refrain from stating that clients that call in are wasting your (*swear word*) time. This is NOT who we are and NOT what we stand for. Check yourself at the door,” part of his message read. A manager, Site Vice President Matt Stoffer, followed up with his own email. “I want to be very clear ... Things like this WILL NOT be tolerated in this culture and will be dealt with swiftly. ELITE PROFESSIONALS. THAT IS WHO WE ARE AT QUICKEN LOANS AND HERE IN THE ICON NATION. LIVE IT. The I in ICON stands for INTEGRITY. LIVE IT. Every Client, Every Time, No Exceptions, No Excuses. LIVE IT,” Stoffer wrote.

Oh, and snitches who can't tell one colleagues voice from another's get stitches.

When Stoffer asked Mendez who was involved, he identified Laff as the speaker, although Laff maintained that Woods was the one using the profanity. It was Laff’s version of events that Judge Montemayor found most credible. Management at the location then fired Laff over the incident. Although managers didn’t fire Woods, they did issue him a written warning called an “opportunity letter.” Judge Montemayor also ruled that disciplinary action against Woods violated the law. In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Montemayor said the restroom conversation was a concerted activity worthy of protection under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

Firing Over Foul-Language Griping Illegal, NLRB Says [Law360 via Lauren LaCapra]

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RBS Trader Whose Instant Messages Clearly Show Him (Allegedly) Engaging In Libor Manipulation Not Going Down Without A Fight

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Macquarie Investment Banker No Fan Of The 'Turn Off All Electronic Devices' Rule

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