Sen. Levin Says Tackling Tax Haven Abuse is One Way to Reduce Deficit

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From Tax Lawyer to IT Guy?

Schlicksup was not available for comment. His attorney, Dan O'Day, said the move is a demotion because his client, who has a law degree as well as an advanced degree in taxation, is not trained in IT services and will not be able to advance in his career there.

"The court ruled when you move a lawyer from tax department to computer department where he doesn't know anything about corporate computers, that is an adverse action," O'Day told ABC News.

Schlicksup first brought the issue of the "tax dodge" to his employers in 1999, saying that a so-called "Swiss Structure" was "designed to shift at least $5.6 billion of profits to alleged offshore companies in order to claim avoidance of over [$2 billion] of U.S. federal income tax" from about 2000 to 2009, according to his suit.

In the suit, Schlicksup also disputed Caterpillar's "Bermuda Structure" designed to return profits to the U.S. via "alleged offshore companies without paying any U.S. tax on the funds."

Before filing a suit, Schlicksup filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) against Caterpillar in 2008, detailing his communication with company executives over concerns about various business practices.

In the OSHA complaint, Schlicksup said that on August 26, 2008, a vice president asked him to attend a meeting about an "opportunity." A human resources manager then told him that Caterpillar was terminating his current position in the finance division effective September 1, 2008 and that his current job duties were being reassigned, according to the suit. Schlicksup said the company offered him a lateral move to the information technology division and that if he did not take the offer, Caterpillar had the right to terminate his employment.

Jim Dugan, spokesman for Caterpillar, said the company could not comment on pending litigation, but that "Caterpillar complies with applicable tax laws and regulations in the countries where we have operations and conduct business."

"The company has a robust and well-defined process for examining questions and concerns raised by employees, and that process has been followed as it relates to the allegations made in this case," Dugan said.

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