Fremont whistleblower files $45M lawsuit against Toyota-GM

A 23-year employee at the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont has filed a $45 million lawsuit alleging it retaliated against her when she reported defects on vehicles it produced.

Inher lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Nov. 6, Katy Cameron, a 54-year-old Tracy woman, said she reported to her bosses at the joint Toyota and GM factory that cars were rolling off the assembly line with defective seat belts, water leaks throughout the vehicles, mirrors falling off, steering wheel alignment defects and missing radiator caps, among other problems.

The suit says that Cameron's job, which she has been doing since 1991, was to detect serious defects in the cars before they were shipped to dealers but eight years ago Nummi managers started changing her defect reports in order to lower the daily “defect per vehicle.”

Nummi, which employs more than 5,000 people, assembles Toyota Corollas, Toyota Tacoma trucks and Pontiac Vibes.

Cameron's attorney, Kelly Armstrong of San Francisco, said today that Cameron has been on medical disability leave since July because “she was subjected to incredible emotional distress.”

Armstrong said management distributed a flier with Cameron's photograph on it stating she was crazy and had escaped from a mental hospital.

In addition, one co-worker tried to slam a car door on her arm while she was working on a vehicle and another pumped fumes into an enclosed area to give her nausea, Armstrong said.

Nummi officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

The suit accuses Nummi of whistleblower retaliation, wrongful employment practices and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

— Bay City News

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