Whistleblower files lawsuit against Toyota Vietnam

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The Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) engineer who this year exposed technical flaws in some car models assembled by his employer on Monday filed a lawsuit against the company for punishing his whistelblowing activity.

In his petition to the People's Court in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, Le Vach Tach asked the court to handle the dispute between him and TMV.

The company first suspended him and then decided to transfer him to another job at reduced salary.

The company's decision was announced on August 24 and the two parties attempted to negotiate last Thursday, but failed to reach a compromise.

According to Tach, TMV was punishing him for his actions earlier this year when he lodged a complaint with the Vietnam Register, the country's quality control agency, about three major problems with the Innova and Fortuner models produced by his employer.

His action, taken after several attempts to have his company take corrective action, led to TMV offering a public apology to its customers on April 1 and pledging to recall more than 65,000 cars.

Since then the company has had taken many actions against him, the engineer said in his petition, demandning that TMV makes a public apology and pays compensation.

Also Monday, Tach sent a letter to local police and office of prosecutors, accusing TMV of violating his mail privacy and slandering him, including reading his emails and claiming that he had an extramarital affair with a woman.

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After announcing the decision, TMV also made a writing announcement in the office accusing him of scheming to have the company shut down, Tach alleged.

Pham Van Phat, Tach's advocate, said the agencies will announce their decision on handling the case or not within the next few days.

In the meantime, a source from TMV told Thanh Nien that the company was yet to be informed that Tach had filed a lawsuit.

In a report late last month, the Lao Dong newspaper said that when announcing the decision, TMV's leaders said Tach had used the email address that the company created for him for personal purposes, including emailing his friends.

They also claimed that Tach slandered his senior, Nguyen Dinh Chuong, who refused to approve his leave application in April.

Moreover, the engineer had disturbed others by proposing the company's director general Akito Tachibana to take action against seven other managers who had allegedly opposed Tach in words and action, the newspaper quoted TMV as saying in the report.

The decision came after TMV concluded its investigation into charges of slander filed against Tach by one of his managers. From June 12 Tach was suspended for three months for the investigation.

At the negotiations held last Thursday, TMV also denied Tach's accusations that they had violated his privacy, saying that from the beginning the email belonged to the company, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported last week.

Meanwhile, information about Tach's personal relationship was reported in the media because he himself revealed it, TMV said.

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