Ex-Bayer whistleblower says fired over data
NEW YORK |
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former employee of Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE) has sued Germany's largest drugmaker, accusing it of wrongfully firing him in retaliation for his refusal to falsify data.
According to a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, the plaintiff Ralph Fabiano had been working on a project related to compliance with auditing and accounting rules under the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act when a senior Bayer executive told him to change the results of certain tests.
When he refused several requests, he was removed from his position and was later fired, violating whistleblower provisions of the law, the complaint said.
Fabiano said in the suit he was working on a testing program for North America operations when the requests were made. Fabiano said that individuals in the group processing the tests were not following their own processes and internal controls, requiring the compliance testing to be corrected.
A spokesman for Bayer at its U.S. headquarters said the U.S. Department of Labour had found no reasonable cause to believe Fabiano's allegations after an investigation, according to a June 17 letter the company received from the department.
"Consistent with our company policy we do not comment on matters of active litigation; however, we will defend ourselves vigorously in this case," said Bryan Iams, a spokesman at Bayer's office in Pittsburgh.
Lawyers for Fabiano were not immediately available for comment.
Fabiano said in the suit that he had filed a compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration unit of the Labour Department accusing Bayer of violating the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower provisions.
Among the other defendants in the case are two of the technology division's employees, President and Chief Executive Officer Claudio Abreu and Raymond Smith, vice president of business planning and administration.
Abreu and Smith were not immediately available for comment.
Fabiano is asking the court to find Sarbanes-Oxley Act violations by all parties and breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing against the Bayer defendants.
The case is in Ralph Fabiano v BAYER AG et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-5722
(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Richard Chang)
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