DETROIT -- A General Motors employee has sued the company under Michigan's Whistleblowers' Protection Act, alleging he was unfairly demoted after he claimed a defect could cause gas to spew from its cars, The Detroit News reported Monday.
Courtland Kelley, formerly a GM manager of internal auditing to test vehicle safety, claimed in the lawsuit that he repeatedly notified GM management over some time of the problem but was ignored, The Detroit News said.
According to the newspaper, GM demoted Kelley a year ago, and he remains employed by the automaker, but with no title or permanent assignment.
Kelley and his lawyer did not return calls from Reuters seeking comment and independent confirmation of the lawsuit.
GM said Monday that it had not been notified of the lawsuit. "We haven't been served," GM spokesman Jay Cooney said. "Until that point, we don't know what this individual's allegations are."
Kelley's attorney, Rose Goff, was quoted by the newspaper as saying his "primary objective is to get defective vehicles off the road and protect public safety."
Kelley's audit team would test drive about 1,000 vehicles a month at test tracks at 30 plants, the newspaper said.
Last June, Kelley submitted a formal complaint to GM saying that he believed it was breaking the law by not reporting the defects and threatened to report the problems to federal officials, The Detroit News said.
His former boss, William McAleer, was removed from his job in 1998 after he also protested the automaker's alleged inaction in correcting safety defects that the audit team found, the newspaper said.
McAleer has a case pending against GM, according to The Detroit News.
Kelley's lawsuit was filed Thursday in Macomb County Circuit Court in Michigan under the the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act, which is designed to give employees legal protection when reporting unethical or illegal practices by their employer.