Iowa Man Sues Deere; Company Says The Suit Is ‘Meritless’
John Deere is facing a lawsuit after a former Iowa employee claims they were fired after raising safety concerns to the company.
Daniel White of Bettendorf has been working for Deere since February 2022. On November 1st, White was fired from Deere after bringing up safety concerns to a global engineering manager.
In early 2022, Deere secured majority ownership over the Austrian company Kreisel Electric Inc. Back in June 2022, White traveled to Kreisel, which makes electric batteries. While on this trip, White saw multiple safety risks.
According to reports, one of the concerns was with the immersion cooling of the batteries. They contained no insulation between the cells and coolant which caused White to be concerned that it could lead to electric shock, a chemical reaction, or an explosion.
However, when he took his concerns to leadership at Deere and Kerisel, White says his concerns were ignored.
According to the complaint, Deere employees and suppliers handling the batteries didn’t know about the safety concerns. However, the lawsuit alleges that Deere was aware of the safety concerns because there had been a failure in a competitor’s battery.
Instead of looking into the claim, both Deere and Kreisel demanded the batteries be used in the development of autonomous equipment without additional testing.
In late October, White sent a proposal for battery testing to a global engineer manager. He was terminated by November 1st.
A Deere spokesperson says the company denies the allocations and says they plan to "vigorously defend ... against these meritless allegations."