VW Allegedly Deleted Info Related To “Defeat Devices” In Violation Of Federal Order

Image courtesy of Eric Arnold

Volkswagen employees allegedly deleted data related to the company’s use of so-called “defeat devices” for three days after federal regulators ordered the company to preserve the information for a future investigation, a former worker claims in a lawsuit against the company. 

The former employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit against VW last week alleging he was wrongfully terminated in December after raising concerns that information was being destroyed at the company’s Michigan offices despite a Department of Justice order requiring the company to save the information, The Associated Press reports.

According to the lawsuit, VW deleted documents for three days following the Sept. 18 allegations from the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board that the company used “defeat devices” to skirt federal emission standards.

The carmaker later admitted to using the sophisticated software in about 11 million vehicles worldwide.

When the company continued to delete information, the employee, who worked in VW’s general counsel office and was responsible for electronic information management in injury and product liability cases, says he reported concerns to a supervisor.

It was at that time, the lawsuit claims, he was fired “because of his refusal to participate in a course of action that would spoilate evidence and obstruct justice” in the EPA and Justice Department probes.

The lawsuit also claims that VW failed to create backup disks of the information it was ordered to preserve.

A rep for VW tells the AP that the worker left the company for reasons unrelated to the emissions scandal.

“We believe his claim of wrongful termination is without merit,” the company said Monday in a statement.

In addition to accusing the company for wrongful termination, the man’s suit claims VW violated the Michigan Whistleblower’s protection act.

The employee’s lawsuit is just one of many VW is facing in the aftermath of its emissions scandal. In January, the Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against the carmaker alleging it violated the Clean Air Act for the approximately 500,000 VW “clean diesel” vehicles sold in the U.S. The carmaker could face upwards of billions of dollars in penalties if found liable.

Ex-Worker Says VW Destroyed Documents, Obstructed Justice [The Associated Press]