Larger companies have an HR department, to protect themselves from the myriad laws and rules pertaining to employees. They also have a legal department, especially if they are a public company as protection and a shield against the endless things that can attack a company.
These same companies often have a disconnect between engineering, manufacturing and marketing. This can lead to greater difficulties than HR problems, or run of them mill legal issues. Now there is a monster predator on the loose and it can gobble up whole companies in one shot. The monster? The U.S. government. In its never ending quest for new revenue sources, the government has discovered that it can “fine” companies for mistakes, errors as well as intentional deceit.
VW deserves a whopping fine for deliberately cheating on emissions testing. What they did was deliberate, and intentionally law-breaking. But an $18 Billion fine? Did management actually know what had been done, or were just a few people involved with the deceit? If management knew about what engineering was doing, could this whole sordid event have been stopped? Compare the cost of taking steps to find something like before it happens, and not looking; a million to one cost ratio? In this case, probably closer to 1:18,000 ratio!