As the Volkswagen diesel scandal approaches the end of its sixth month, more scrutiny is being placed on the company's actions during the first few weeks.
It was recently reported that VW put off telling shareholders about its illegal actions while it tried to cut a deal with regulators.
Now a fired employee has come forward claiming that Volkswagen's U.S. arm actively tried to cover up its emissions cheating.
DON'T MISS: VW delayed on diesel cheating to try to cut deal with regulators, lawyers say
In a whistleblower lawsuit, according to the Associated Press, Daniel Donovan claims he was wrongfully fired on December 6 for refusing to participate in the destruction of documents related to the diesel scandal.
The lawsuit claims VW destroyed evidence for three days after the diesel cheating was revealed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a press conference September 18, and despite a hold order from the Justice Department.
Donovan had worked as a technology employee in the carmaker's general counsel office, located in Michigan.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
He was responsible for electronic information management for injury and product-liability cases.
The lawsuit alleges Donovan was fired "because of his refusal to participate in a course of action that would spoilate evidence obstruct justice," in a Federal probe of the company's actions.
The Justice Department is suing Volkswagen on behalf of the EPA for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. If found guilty, VW could face penalties of up to $48 billion.
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Donovan claims his department did not stop deleting electronic files until September 21, and was not making backup copies.
He reported his concerns to his supervisor, and now claims he was fired because management was afraid he would talk to Federal prosecutors.
There is no evidence Donovan actually did talk to prosecutors, and no reports so far specify what was contained in the deleted documents.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Volkswagen claims Donovan's dismissal was unrelated to the diesel scandal. In a statement on Monday, it said the suit was "without merit."
The news comes as VW approaches a Federal judge's deadline to make progress in starting a recall of the nearly 600,000 affected diesel cars in the U.S.
MORE: Judge Tells VW To Find Diesel Fix By March 24: 'Six Months Is Enough'
U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer told Volkswagen last month that it had until March 24 to come up plans for a suitable fix.
Echoing the sentiments of thousands of frustrated owners, Breyer said that six months was enough.