The U.S. sales chief of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the Italian-American car manufacturer.
In the suit, Reid Bigland alleges that executives within FCA have made him a scapegoat over the company’s inflated vehicle sales practices. He also claims that he “inherited” FCA’s sales figures reporting practices.
Bigland cooperated with a federal investigation into FCA vehicle sales practices and asserts that his pay has been slashed by more than 90 per cent and that the company has withheld his bonuses and stock as part of a compensation plan valued at approximately $1.8 million. The lawsuit contends that FCA intends on using his compensation to pay fines or settlements reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The Detroit News reports.
“[Bigland’s] unwillingness to act as a scapegoat for defendants’ 30-year practice which predated him, and his candor regarding defendants’ knowledge of this practice prior to and during his tenure as head of U.S., caused FCA to retaliate against plaintiff less than two months later by withholding his compensation,” Bigland’s lawyer said in a statement.
The exec wants a federal judge to prohibit FCA from any further wrongdoing or retaliation and is asking for an unspecified amount of damages.
In a statement, FCA representatives said: “[Bigland’s] eligibility for incentive compensation — like that of all corporate officers — is subject to a determination by the Board of Directors’ compensation committee that he has satisfied the applicable company and personal performance conditions.”
FCA first had its U.S. sales reporting processes probed by federal investigators in July 2016. The company soon altered its reporting practices, which revealed that rather than enjoying 75 months of year-over-year sales increases as touted until then, FCA had instead only seen sales increases for roughly half that time.