ELIZABETH, N.J. (CN) – L’Oreal USA fired its regulatory affairs director for objecting that it falsely claimed to have removed carcinogenic DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from its Maybelline products, falsely advertised a product as “vegan” though it contained animal products, falsely claimed to have removed hydrofluorocarbons from its products, and that it violated other government regulations, Jerome Chevallier claims in Union County Court.
Chevallier claims L’Oreal sold Maybelline products with DBP in South America despite a ban there “for its carcinogenicity and risks to reproduction,” and claims L’Oreal falsely declared that the DBP had been removed from the products.
He claims it exported products with ozone-destroying hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) to Europe despite a ban on them.
He claims it fraudulently marketed a product called Pureology as vegan, though it contained “animal derivative ingredients”.
And he says it used “banned Triclosan in deodorants despite defendant L’Oreal USA’s pronouncement that it would not be used.”
As a result of his whistle blowing, Chevallier says, he was subjected to “malicious harassment” and became “persona non grata.”
He says he was fired because of his “strenuous objection after learning on or about July 2, 2007 that products commercialized in Europe apparently contained a concentration of a preservative, Kathon CG, above lawful levels, and that the formulae had been omitted by the formulators and management from the computer system so as to avoid regulatory department scrutiny. After requesting a recall of the subject products, plaintiff was removed from having any involvement and was prohibited from communicating with his European counterparts,” the complaint states.
When he complained again, he says, his boss “reacted with disdain and rage” and did not speak to him again until he was fired, 11 days later.
Chevallier also sued five bosses who allegedly punished him for his whistle blowing. He is represented by Gary Roth with Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks of Springfield, N.J.