Infosys employees had concerns about visa use, documents show

Jury selection begins Aug. 20 in federal court

An Infosys employee, whose lawsuit against the company triggered a federal investigation into visa fraud, has released some of the evidence in defense of his case.

Jay Palmer, the employee, filed a lawsuit last year against Indian offshore giant Infosys, alleging he was harassed after refusing to help the company use B-1 visas, a business visitor visa, for work he claims needed an H-1B work visa.

Jury selection in this case is due to begin Aug. 20 in U.S. District Court in Alabama.

Infosys has asked the judge in this case to throw it out for lack of evidence. In response, Palmer, this month filed a number of documents, from copies of threats he received, to affidavits and internal emails, in order to back up his case.

The documents indicate that other employees, not just Palmer, had concerns about visa use at the firm.

One email submitted as evidence was written by an Infosys HR associate in October, 2010 and sent to an Infosys whistleblower team. This employee said that she wanted to report fraudulent activity relating to employees working on client sites on B-1 visas.

"These employees are not in our payroll system therefore not being paid from the US and not paying U.S. taxes," the employee wrote, adding that "they are being provided fraudulent invitation letters verifying they are coming to the U.S. for business meetings and/or training."

Kenneth Mendelsohn, Palmer's attorney, also submitted an affidavit from a former Infosys employee working at Johnson Controls, a customer site, which makes similar allegations about misuse. An email in June 2011 claimed employees were working at this customer site on B-1 visas.

Mendelsohn said this employee confirmed that these workers "were coming here just to do regular work, which is illegal in a bunch of ways: Number one, it is displacing American workers, and number two, is they are coming over here on business visas" which don't allow work.

Infosys, in SEC filings, has stated that it and employees are targets of a federal investigation. The company has denied any wrongdoing, and it reiterated this in a statement Thursday.

"Our position is the same now as it has been from the beginning: We have not retaliated against any employee for bringing any suspected incident to the company's attention," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "We look forward to addressing this matter in open court in August, not in public venues where facts can become mixed with rumor, opinion and speculation."

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at  @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on Computerworld.com.

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