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Dana must reinstate worker in whistleblower case, pay $274,922.47

The U.S. Department of Labor on Monday ordered Dana Holding Corp. to pay a whistle-blower who was fired from the company $274,922.47 in back wages and benefits, compensatory damages, and attorney’s fees.

The department also demanded the employee, who served as a financial analyst for Dana, be reinstated in his or her position.

The results of an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sided with the former employee, who was fired from Dana’s in February, 2009, after voicing concerns about a corporate practice at Dana, a release from the labor department stated.

The employee was not named in the release. The labor department does not release the names of employees involved in whistle-blower complaints.

According to the release, the employee believed he or she was fired for “raising concerns about inaccuracies in the company’s customer information assessment system database that could be reflected as inaccuracies in the company’s annual financial reports.”

Dana disagrees with the ruling, and spokesman Jeff Cole released this statement: “Dana has received OSHA’s preliminary order in this matter. This determination was made without a hearing and we believe strongly that it is unsupported by the facts of the case. As such, we will be filing objections and a request for a hearing in this matter.”

Maumee-based Dana is a Fortune 500 company that specializes in automobile parts, including axles, driveshafts, and transmissions.

A copy of the OSHA investigation will not be available until the matter has concluded.

OSHA’s order requires the company to pay $47,813.72 in back wages, vacation pay, pension and 401(k) contributions; $108,167.60 in compensatory damages, and $118,941.15 in attorney’s fees.

According to the release, “the company must expunge any adverse references related to the discharge from the employee’s personnel record, [and] post a notice about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s whistle-blower provisions for all employees and train employees on these provisions.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission did not have paperwork regarding the incident or a similar one filed on its Web site. The SEC would be responsible for investigating the employee’s claim regarding Dana’s corporate practice.

If the former employee’s claim is being investigated by the SEC, the commission wouldn’t be able to comment on it. The SEC also does not release the results of investigations that don’t result in legal action.

Contact Kris Turner at: kturner@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.

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