Former General Counsel sues Bio-Rad for whistleblower retaliation

Sanford Wadler, former General Counsel and executive Vice President of Bio-Rad Laboratories’ has filed a lawsuit against the firm alleging that he was fired due to his efforts to reveal bribes of officials in China.

In his federal lawsuit, Wadler alleges that he uncovered specific evidence of bribery, books-and-records violations, and that language had been altered in documents in Chinese in order to circumvent Bio-Rad’s internal controls. The suit says that Wadler reported “up the ladder” the potential violations he noted, but shortly before Bio-Rad was scheduled to present information to the SEC and DOJ, the company fired him, “precisely because he refused to be complicit in its wrongdoing,” the complaint says.

Specifically, the whistleblower suit names Bio-Rad CEO Norman Schwartz, board members Louis Drapeau, Albert Hillman, and Deborah Neff, and Alice Schwartz, a board member who is also the CEO’s mother.

Bio-Rad had previously self-reported its discovery that international subsidiaries made improper payments to foreign officials in Russia, Vietnam, and Thailand in order to win business. For ignoring red flags of FCPA breaches, the company settled with the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for $55 million late last year.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.