VW worker claims he was fired after reporting data deletion

Company claims firing was "unrelated to diesel emissions issue."

Daniel Donovan, a former IT worker for Volkswagen in Michigan, claims the company fired him for trying to blow the whistle about alleged deletion of emissions scandal data. He has now filed a lawsuit against the automaker for wrongful termination and breaking the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act, according to Courthouse News Service.

On September 18, the same day the Environmental Protection Agency filed a violation notice against VW's diesels, the company was supposed to stop deleting data. However, Donovan alleges that it continued getting rid of information through September 21. He told his supervisor and reportedly refused to take part. Donovan claims the automaker later fired him out of concerns he might report the situation to outside authorities, according to Reuters citing German media reports.

Volkswagen of America is fighting his allegations. "The circumstances of Mr. Donovan's departure were unrelated to the diesel emissions issue. We believe his claim of wrongful termination is without merit," the company told Autoblog in a statement.

This lawsuit is among the many legal hurdles VW currently faces in the US. A judge recently gave the company until March 24 to offer a fix for its polluting diesel engines. However, that might not be possible. The EPA and DOJ are also seeking billions in fines for the deception. According to Automotive News, dealers have even started considering a case against the automaker because the showrooms invested billions in upgrades, but the promised sales increases didn't happen.

As time goes on, things seem to get worse for the automaker. Just last week, VW of America CEO Michael Horn suddenly resigned. The company named Hinrich J. Woebcken as the interim boss, and he hadn't even started his new role of Head of the North America region. VW has also hinted that US jobs could be on the line, depending on the severity of the scandal's financial hit.

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