Volkswagen's already-damaging emissions scandal may have just gotten worse.
The Associated Press is reporting that a former employee alleges he was fired by the automaker after refusing to participate in the obstruction of justice by deleting documents related to the emissions crisis.
In a lawsuit against the company, Daniel Donovan claims he was wrongfully terminated by VW on Dec. 6, 2015 after not going along with the automaker's plans to delete files, which he claims the car manufacturer did for three days after the emissions allegations first surfaced from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last September.
According to the AP, Donovan was a technology employee working in VW's general counsel office, overseeing electronic information in injury and product liability cases.
In the lawsuit, Donovan alleges that he was fired "because of his refusal to participate in a course of action that would spoilate evidence and obstruct justice." He adds that he was also fired because the automaker was convinced that he'd report the deletions of files and overall obstruction of justice to the EPA or Justice Department.
VW responded Monday, saying that "we believe his claim of wrongful termination is without merit," as additionally reported by the AP.
The last thing VW needs is another problem, as the embattled automaker is already facing potentially over $20 billion in regulatory fines and hundreds of class-action lawsuits and don't even count the recall cost of fixing nearly 600,000 compromised vehicles in the United States and 11 million worldwide.
As it currently stands, there's an ongoing Justice Department investigation into criminal charges against VW, with the company still needing to come up with an acceptable proposal to fix the nearly 600,000 affected vehicles in the U.S., as its last proposal was rejected by both the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB).
"The proposed plans contain gaps and lack sufficient detail," CARB said in a joint statement with the EPA at the time in January, as reported by USA Today. "The descriptions of proposed repairs lack enough information for a technical evaluation; and the proposals do not adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety."