SAP accused of age discrimination, retaliation by US whistleblower

Complainant moved to 'retire in place' role after Sarbanes Oxley Act report, filing alleges

SAP is being sued for age discrimination and retaliation by an employee who alleges he was moved to a meaningless role after he asked for an investigation of potentially anti-competitive practices.

Michael Nedrow, who worked as an SAP exec for more than eight years, is bringing the civil action in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Among the allegations levelled by the former worker is that a director of the software giant's North America region's midmarket business took issue with a framework designed to prevent anti-competitive practices. The lawsuit [PDF] was filed earlier this week.

The case goes on to allege that the same manager refused to implement the framework "potentially imperiling ethical contract processes, regular financial reporting rules and legal fair trade requirements."

An SAP spokesperson said the company "does not comment on pending litigation."

Nedrow alleges in the filing that he made a whistleblower report under the Sarbanes Oxley Act in January 2023.

The complaint says SAP executive Greg Petraetis refused to adopt an "internal framework intended to prevent corruption and comply with the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union, as ordered by Defendant SAP SE's Board of Directors."

Nedrow claims that his manager, a German citizen, and SAP's legal department "had informed him that implementation of this framework was a 'red flag' mandatory compliance issue mandated by the Board of Directors, and therefore he reasonably believed that failure could have serious and extremely costly legal consequences," the filing says.

It goes on to say that Nedrow alleges that he suffered retaliation for his whistleblowing report. The manager told him he had "pissed off a lot of people" with his report, the complaint continues, after which the manager said he would step into North America "to insulate Nedrow from the problem."

The filing claims that in August 2022, Nedrow, employed as regional and execution director with three people reporting to him, was told by his management to make sure Latin America and North America adopted a specific legal framework by January 1, 2023. The Indirect Commercial Framework (ICF) arises from EU Fair Trade rules designed to stop sales teams giving more favorable contract terms to certain business partners rather than others.

"Without the ICF, sales managers could make private, potentially corrupt deals with business partners that could result in noncompliance with [SAP's] legal obligations," the filing alleges.

However, the plaintiff is claiming that SAP's North America region's midmarket business refused to implement the framework.

After his manager stepped in, Nedrow was moved to another role, he says. "It was specifically created in response to Plaintiff's legal claims, and designed to be so demeaning that Plaintiff would quit. Plaintiff accepted the position, as he had no choice," the filing claims.

"This type of job is considered to be RIP 'Retired in Place,' an industry practice used to put legally problematic employees in the hope that they would give up and leave," according to the complaint.

The filing alleges that SAP punished Nedrow by removing most of his duties, cutting his bonus in half, threatening his job and directing him to find another job.

His lawyers claim SAP also discriminated against him based on his age in refusing to hire him into numerous open positions. "One SAP hiring manager expressly told Plaintiff that he intended to hire someone younger for the position," the filing alleges. ®

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like