Siddharth Breja – once an executive at e-cigarette giant, Juul – is filing a lawsuit claiming that the company knowingly distributed a shipment of a million pods that contained contaminated fluid, but failed to alert its customers. The ex-Senior Vice President of global finance from May last year until March, says that he was fired from Juul when he made complaints over the tainted pods.
Breja’s lawsuit arrived at the same time as Juul mentioned its plan to dismiss several hundred employees (between 10 and 15 percent of its staff). Four of the company’s executives will also be leaving, such as CFO Tim Danaher. The Food and Drug Administration is looking closely at Juul’s operations after the company allegedly made false declaration about its merchandise. Marketing its products to teenagers doesn’t put them in good stead with the administration either.
Kicked for having a conscience
After finding out about the contaminated e-liquid on the 12th of March, Breja protested at Juul’s neglect to recall the product or at the very least, the distribution of a health warning. Danaher turned down the notion, saying that Juul would suffer a loss of sales reaching billions of dollars. According to Breja, later that month he was fired and was told that it was due to his false representation of his position as CFO at Uber. Breja maintains that his claim to be CFO of a division at Uber was true.
Breja also mentioned that Juul was looking to sell pods that were close to a year old. After suggesting that the company should add an expiration date or some type of note as to how old the products were, the CEO at the time, Kevin Burns, said, “Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the f*ck is going to notice the quality of our pods?”
Breja’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, says, “Mr. Breja became aware of very concerning actions at the company, and he performed his duty to shareholders and to the board by reporting these issues internally. In exchange for doing that, he was inappropriately terminated. This is very concerning, particularly since some of the issues he raised concerned matters of public safety.”