HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) - The former vice president of sales and marketing for LG Electronics says he was fired for complaining that the company was improperly labeling refrigerators as "Energy Star" compliant when they did not meet those standards." Allan Jason claims LG did it to "cheat and defraud the United States Government and the customers whom these refrigerators were being sold to."
Energy Star is a federal program that, among other things, awards tax credits for energy-efficient appliances.
Jason sued LG Electronics and two of its top executives, the CEO and the president, in Bergen County Court.
Jason, who began working for LG in 2006, says that when he brought the mislabeling to his superiors' attention, he was told that the company had made an "honest mistake" that "resulted in the improper labeling of LG Refrigerators as 'Energy Star' compliant." He says that he was assured this would be corrected.
But Jason says he came to find out that it "was common knowledge throughout the entire LG Appliance Group that [LG] was cheating on the federal Energy Star ratings," and there was "real fear that they would get caught by the U.S. Government."
Jason claims that "no explanation was provided" when he was fired. He claims he was fired for "objecting directly to [LG's] General Counsel about the unlawful activity."
He seeks back pay, including bonuses, and damages for wrongful firing, breach of contract and whistleblowing violations. Defendants include CEO or former CEO Yong Nam, of South Korea, and its president or former president Teddy Hwang, of New Jersey.
Jason is represented by Patrick Whalen of Trenton, N.J.