FCA Claims Bigland Doesn't Qualify for Whistleblower Protection
Reid Bigland, head of Ram Trucks and the man in charge of sales reporting at FCA, recently filed a whistleblower lawsuit against FCA US LLC for significantly cutting his pay after he talked to the SEC reguarding an investigation into the sales reporting practices of the company. That investigation ultimately led Fiat Chrysler to change the way they report sales and acknowledge that they inaccurately reported them in the past.
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, FCA filed a countersuit claiming that Bigland isn’t eligible for whistleblower status on the law.
Automotive News reports that attorneys for the automaker say that “[Bigland] expressly alleges that the staff of the SEC accuses him of engaging in some wrongdoing as to [FCA’s] monthly sales reporting.” They then claim, “Deferring incentive compensation to an individual the government has asked to acknowledge that he has engaged in some wrongdoing is not unlawful retaliation, but an eminently reasonable thing to do.”
So, to basically sum things up, Bigland said that he wasn’t involved in the decision on the sales reporting, and when asked by the government about it, he told them what was up. He then claims that as a result, FCA cut his pay 90-percent.
It appears FCA’s stance is that Bigland was one of the targets of the investigation and, if he was wrongdoing, cutting his pay was the prudent thing to do. We may never ultimately know how everything went down. But a court battle seems to be looming unless both sides come to some sort of settlement beforehand.
Bigland remains in his roles at FCA, where he’s overseeing a massive growth in Ram sales, nearly hitting Ford levels last month. With the new Heavy Duty trucks just now rolling out, those numbers might get even higher. Will that ultimately factor into all of this? Time will tell.
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