A whistleblower has filed a lawsuit against auto manufacturer Volkswagen, claiming he was terminated by the company after attempting to stop it from deleting evidence related to investigations into excess vehicle emissions. Depending on how this lawsuit turns out, it could have an impact on the ultimate size of the penalties imposed on the company for these emissions, given that VW has already failed to entirely cooperate with authorities.
The whistleblower worked for the company in a Michigan data center. He claims VW was deleting data for weeks after it received an order from the Department of Justice on September 18 to stop all routine data deletions. The whistleblower says the company claims the deletions continued because of a “lack of storage space.” Additionally, the employee says the IT division of the company refused to allow the investigating law firm full access to the company’s computer systems.
Volkswagen, for its part, says the wrongful termination claim is “without merit.” The suit was filed just days before the sudden resignation of the chair of Volkswagen Group of America. Before he stepped down, he had publicly admitted the company had made a mistake by installing some hidden software to conceal the fact that VW diesel vehicles were actually putting out up to 40 times the maximum amount of allowed emissions of nitrogen oxide.
The scandal has caused a drastic plummet in sales for Volkswagen cars in the United States. The company has declined to comment further about the lawsuit.
Contact the skilled Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers if your company needs to investigate and respond to an internal whistleblower claim.