DETROIT (FOX 2) - A former employee at United Wholesale Mortgage says he's speaking for many of his friends and colleagues who are worried about their safety but scared of losing their jobs - as Covid surges throughout the community - and the company's sprawling campus in Pontiac.
"What are we supposed to do now - we don't have anything in place to protect us," the former employee said. "We've seen 10 to 12 people at one time - just not in the office for a few days, and then we find out it's because they got sick - they're in contact with someone who had Covid - they actually have Covid.
"That should automatically be a red alert - hey we need to put something back in place, to make sure people are safe."
In the last few days, FOX 2 has received several emails and complaints from worried employees. This isn't the first time this company has been in the news for concerns over Covid protocols.
"This is us trying to educate businesses about what they need to be doing," said Bill Mullan, Oakland County spokesperson.
Mullan spoke to FOX 2 about that in August of 2020 when the Oakland County Health Department issued an emergency order for what was then-called United Shore Mortgage, to follow the governor's mandates like social distancing, masks, and daily health screenings after 50 employees tested positive.
The company instituted those protocols, including plexiglass dividers and allowed many people to work from home. But United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia told FOX 2 in March, he prefers to have employees in the office for team building.
"Sitting in pajamas with a power shirt - that's not what people want to do long-term," he said. "And if you are one of those people - that's just not a great fit for us - and that's okay, there's nothing wrong with that. We just know who we want, to be part of our family."
Before the pandemic struck, the mortgage lender's campus featured a doctor's office, dry cleaning, and dodge ball - all testaments to the work-life balance hailed by Ishbia.
Finding that balance has been harder in recent months as Covid case rates swing like a pendulum.
When Covid cases lightened up in 2021, employees went back to the office. State mandates were no longer in place, so no more temperature checks or social distancing or plexiglass dividers - as shown in a photo given to FOX 2.
United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia
"A lot of people are saying - send us home - bring back the mask mandate - make them verify they don't have Covid, before they come back in this office," said the former employee.
FOX 2 contacted the Oakland County Health Department - we're waiting to hear back.
A spokesperson for United Wholesale Mortgage did not say how many of their 9,000employees have tested positive for Covid, but tells FOX 2 they are following government guidelines - offering employees free masks, on-site and off-site testing, and they have vaccines available for those who want them.
Some say - it's not enough.
"This is your family," the former employee said. "You want to protect your family, so do the precautions necessary to ensure they are safe."