The VW Emissions Whistleblower
3 months ago admin 0
An employee of Volkswagen has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company for being fired in December of 2015. The employee, Daniel Donovan, tried to stop coworkers from deleting data that had to do with emission levels that were not up to standards. Donovan believes that his superiors chose to fire him because they thought he was about to go to the authorities with information.
As of September 2015, Volkswagen has been under scrutiny for essentially falsifying data about diesel fuel emissions in vehicles. The EPA discovered a device in certain Volkswagen vehicles that could sense when said vehicles were being tested and cut their fuel use and emissions to a “subnormal capacity,” making the vehicles able to get away with emitting 40 times the allowed amount of pollution.
When this tactic came to public light in September, Donovan was told by his superiors to pass along a message to the chief information officer not to delete any data files that had to do with the new investigation regarding emissions. When Donovan did attempt to pass the message along, he was met with obscene language and total disregard for his instructions. For the next three days, the chief information officer’s IT crew continued to delete files.
Daniel Donovan’s lawsuit alleges that his company violated whistleblower laws in Michigan, the state where he was employed. Volkswagen claims that Donovan’s termination had nothing to do with the scandal and impending lawsuit involving false fuel emissions data, but Donovan persists that he was fired out of fear that he would soon go to the authorities with information about the emissions scandal.
Under Michigan whistleblower laws, Donovan is protected from retaliation by his employers. However, his concerns about the illegal data deletion were met with the ultimate retaliatory act: termination.