The Braunschweig labor court has declared the dismissal of a Volkswagen manager because of the diesel scandal to be invalid. The man is now entitled to payments.
- The Braunschweig labor court has declared the dismissal of a Volkswagen manager because of the diesel scandal to be invalid. The man is now entitled to payments.
The Braunschweig labor court has declared the dismissal of a former VW engine boss because of the diesel affair by the group to be inadmissible. The chamber explained its decision on Thursday that his behavior was "after the assessment of all circumstances and the outcome of the taking of evidence not to be seen as a breach of duty". The ex-manager had resisted being thrown out. The judges mostly upheld his complaint.
The key issue in the dispute was whether the executive at a meeting with senior engineers in November 2006 at least implicitly approved the further development of a manipulative software function. This activated the full cleaning of diesel exhaust gases only in tests. On the other hand, when driving on the road – i.e. when nobody was looking closely – VW cars emitted significantly excessive amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx). When this later came to light after recalls and analyzes by scientists and US authorities, the diesel scandal broke out.
VW fired the former division manager, which he acted against. He was successful: the court assumes the "ineffectiveness of the disputed terminations between the parties". Allegations that he had not prevented the use of the emissions software at the time could not be considered a breach of duty after closer examination.
Manager approved continuation of deception software
An important witness testified at the last hearing at the end of January. This man – at the same time one of the accused in the first ongoing fraud process regarding the diesel affair at the Braunschweig district court – took the result of the meeting in late autumn 2006 as approval to continue the deception program. However, he found this to be "disreputable", explained the former head of drive electronics at Volkswagen.
After examining the files of the public prosecutor's office, the group parted ways with several high-ranking employees in August 2018. The plaintiff brought before the labor court is not one of the four accused in the first major fraud case. However, he is said to belong to an extended group against which the investigators in Braunschweig also brought charges. Their approval is still pending.
"Don't get caught"
However, the discussion at the end of 2006 was already a topic in the current criminal proceedings. The high-ranking electronics developer who was also accused there said that at the start of the "diesel offensive" in the USA he wanted to make sure with his superiors whether the test recognition should really be used. It was clear to everyone present that the later scandalous EA189 engine would not be able to comply with US limits without the delicate software function ("defeat device"). According to the prosecutor's investigations, a VW manager is said to have said to a co-defendant engineer at the meeting: "Don't get caught."
Two years ago, Volkswagen suffered a setback in a dismissal dispute over the diesel affair. The labor court upheld the lawsuit filed by a former head of diesel engine development. Here, too, VW is said to have wrongly terminated the employment relationship: the works council was incorrectly informed, and a witness made use of the right to refuse to testify. However, the court rejected two witnesses named by the company because they were not at a controversial meeting in 2011. VW stressed that it was convinced that the manager had committed serious breaches of duty. © dpa