Whistleblower: GM Ruined My Career

Courtland Kelley, a former General Motors quality manager who first tried to draw attention to flawed ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, says the auto maker’s leadership is not telling the truth in its internal investigation. That investigation, touted by new CEO Mary Barra, claimed the company’s bureaucracy caused people not to speak up. Kelley says the truth is that management actively sought to quash those who spoke up: Employees who saw flaws feared for their careers. After Kelley repeatdly reported vehicle flaws that were ignored, he filed a lawsuit under a Michigan whistleblower law. The case got dismissed on procedural grounds and GM said it did nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Kelley was transferred and his career flatlined.

During testimony before Congress on Wednesday, CEO Mary Barra was confronted with testimony of employees pushing for recalls because of safety issues. She responded, “If there was a serious safety problem, a recall would have been done.” Representatives also pointed out to Barra that a lot of the internal investigation she was citing was blacked out. And while Barra called the report “comprehensive” and “far-reaching,” it was pointed out to her by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) that, “The report singles out many individuals at GM who made poor decisions or failed to act, but it doesn’t identify one individual in positions of high leadership who was responsible for these systemic failures.”