Former employees file whistleblower suit against Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Two former employees of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming they were fired after refusing to participate in the illegal destruction of documents critical to monitoring air quality and enforcing regulations, their attorneys said Tuesday.

Michael Bachmann was an IT manager responsible for document and record retention. He had worked with the district for more than 16 years, according to his lawyers.

Steele was an assistant assigned to his team, which was working on an electronic file and software program for the district’s records.

The two allegedly witnessed the destruction of records in violation of state and federal law, as well as district policy.

Bachmann and Steele say they tried to preserve the records and brought their concerns to upper management, but district leadership instructed them to return the records for destruction, according to their attorneys.

They say the documents in question indicated that there had been significant reductions in fines by the district’s legal and enforcement divisions.

“When Michael and Sarah refused to participate in the illegal destruction of vital public records, the District alleged charges of minor policy violations – policy violations that Michael did not commit – and fired them both,” attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle said in a statement.

District officials declined to comment on the lawsuit filed today, but referred questions on the matter to a statement issued in February, after Bachmann and Steele held a press conference on the matter, stating that the data which was allegedly destroyed is available in electronic format and available for public review.

“For nearly 30 years the Air District has retained information in an electronic database for all notices of violation, facility complaints, investigation documents and correspondence,” district officials said in the statement. “All allegations were thoroughly investigated by an independent, third party investigator and were determined to be false and without merit.”

Bay City News
Published by
Bay City News

Recent Posts

Back for a week, e-scooters in San Francisco draw fewer complaints this time around

Zip. Zero. Nada. That’s the number of e-scooters San Francisco Public Works has confiscated from city streets since the powered…

2 hours ago

Muni cuts ties with contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging, federal fraud

San Francisco’s transportation agency is severing ties with Derf Butler, a city contractor who pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and federal…

3 hours ago

Dance pop great Lisa Stansfield goes deeper

British dance-pop diva Lisa Stansfield is on her first tour of America in 20 years, playing signature 1980s hits like…

4 hours ago

Golden State Warriors rout Phoenix Suns as Thompson breaks out of shooting funk

OAKLAND -- During the Golden State Warriors’ first road trip of the season, head coach Steve Kerr lamented the fact…

6 hours ago

Judge upholds verdict in Monsanto Roundup trial involving California groundskeeper

A judge on Monday upheld pesticide manufacturer Monsanto's liability in a lawsuit alleging that exposure to the company's Roundup product…

6 hours ago

San Francisco 49ers safety Adrian Colbert likely out for the season, heads to injured reserve

By C.J. Peterson Special to S.F. Examiner SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After an embarrassing, 39-10 loss to the to the…

8 hours ago