Does rotating & deflecting brick veneer indicate foundation distortion?
Both the TREC SOP and the guideline for evaluating the performance of foundations include this type of distress as a possible sign of foundation distortion. In my opinion, this distress is almost always caused by missing brick ties. Sometimes there are no ties or fewer than what is normally required.
How the problem is discovered
Usually, the way this is discovered is that a home inspector or someone else will push against the brick and note that it moves, usually by rotating slightly. Even if the brick veneer rotates a lot, the cause lies in the brick ties or lack thereof.
Is rotating or deflecting brick veneer a safety issue?
The fear is this: if the brick veneer rotates when someone pushes on it, the brick could fall down if the foundation distorted enough. I have never heard of this happening, but I cannot deny that it is possible.
How the problem is corrected
Correcting this problem is not hard. One option is to rebuild the brick veneer from the ground up. Individual bricks can be removed and additional brick ties added.
If, as is often the case, the problem is minor, the best solution is to stop pushing on the brick.