Firing Over Foul-Language Griping Illegal, NLRB Says

By Stan Parker (March 18, 2016, 8:09 PM EDT) -- 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,...

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