Government LendingLegal

Ex-employee sues UWM for racial discrimination

Corey Tucker claims he started noticing “different treatment within the workplace” when he joined lender in 2021

A former account executive is accusing United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), the top mortgage lender in the country, of racial discrimination, hostile workplace environment, harassment and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed on Dec. 8 in a district court in Michigan.  

Corey Tucker, a Black man who began at UWM in December 2021, claims that shortly after his employment started, he noticed “different treatment within the workplace.” He worked at UWM until June 27, 2022, with his last position being account executive. 

“Specifically, Plaintiff was assaulted both physically and verbally by his Caucasian coworkers while at the workplace,” the lawsuit states. 

A representative for UWM said the company does not comment on pending litigation. 

Carla Aikens, the plaintiff’s attorney, said they will “defer to the allegations in the complaint.” 

According to Tucker’s complaint, his white coworkers and leaders would “hurl insensitive as well as racist comments based upon his status as a Black man.” Comments include sexual references, he said. 

“Examples of these comments included stating that a Black manager (one of the only ones) is ‘Black, fit and looks intimidating, but he’s soft,’” the lawsuit states. 

According to the complaint, on June 10, 2022, Tucker was shot in the face with a NERF gun at close range by a coworker. Tucker said he felt bothered and humiliated and reported the incident to the human resources department. 

A few days later, on June 27, 2022, Tucker said he was terminated without warning for “purportedly ‘walking around’ during a ‘power block,’ though he was in the restroom, as he had already stated to his supervisor.” The lawsuit states that power blocks were times when the Defendant wanted Tucker and others to make phone calls. 

According to the complaint, other white co-workers were not terminated for the same action.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a notice of right to sue letter in September 2023 after Tucker filed a charge based on race.

In the lawsuit, Tucker asks for compensatory damages and an award of lost wages and the value of fringe benefits, past and future. 

Pontiac, Michigan-based UWM originated $29.7 billion in mortgage loans in the third quarter of 2023 when its chairman and CEO Mat Ishbia said it “hired over a thousand team members” and has plans to hire more again in the fourth quarter.

In April, Bloomberg reported that more than two dozen current and former employees claimed the lender had fostered a toxic work environment.

Former employees told the outlet that UWM managers openly berated subordinates and made sexually suggestive remarks – none of the workers said Ishbia ever used racial slurs or sexually harassed employees.

UWM Chief Marketing Officer Sarah DeCiantis said Bloomberg’s portrayal of a hostile workplace was “false and misleading.”

UWM, DeCiantis noted, “has operated for almost 40 years and has employed close to 20,000 team members, and there is nothing, in all that time with all those great people, that suggests this story is anything more than disgruntled individuals or a competitor pushing a false narrative to the media.”

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