In what has to be a nightmare for Infosys as the Aug. 20 trial of Jay Palmer’s harassment and retaliation lawsuit against the company approaches, a second lawsuit has been filed by a former Infosys employee in California who blew the whistle on the same alleged visa and tax fraud that Palmer reported, and, like Palmer, allegedly suffered severe retaliation as a result.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Aug. 2. Here’s the summary of the complaint filed in court documents:
Plaintiff Satya Dev Tripuraneni …a citizen of the United States, was a successful accounts manager at a California office of Infosys …until he realized that Infosys was involving its clients in immigration fraud, and spoke out against it. Infosys routinely requested business visas for foreign workers to come to this country and work for Infosys’s clients (U.S.-based businesses), and convinced its clients to bill other individuals for the work. This allowed Infosys to bring Indian nationals here to work in violation of U.S. immigration laws. As a law abiding citizen, Mr. Tripuraneni blew the whistle—hard. He spoke out to Infosys management and informed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But instead of rewarding Tripuraneni, Infosys initiated a full-throated campaign of retaliation in a concerted effort to pressure Infosys personnel not to cooperate with federal authorities. Mr. Tripuraneni’s supervisor took away 80% of Tripuraneni’s portfolio and gave him unwarranted negative evaluations, totally derailing his career. His supervisor and the team stopped cooperating with him and stopped supporting him. The working conditions became so intolerable that Mr. Tripuraneni was eventually forced to quit. He sues Infosys under the California Labor Code and the common law, seeking monetary damages, including punitive damages, and cost of suit.
According to the lawsuit, in November 2011, Tripuraneni confronted his supervisor, Frederic Ramioulle, about the company’s illegal practices, and Ramioulle’s response was, “Who cares?” The suit alleges that Ramioulle threatened Tripuraneni that if he spoke with others about these practices, the size of his client portfolio would be reduced. In December, the suit alleges, Tripuraneni received a negative performance evaluation that was far below any score he had received in the past, so he escalated his complaint to the Infosys whistleblower team, informing them of the company’s fraudulent visa and tax practices and offering to substantiate the claims with documentation.
The lawsuit further states that in December, Tripuraneni also filed a whistleblower complaint with the Department of Homeland Security, and provided DHS with documentation to substantiate his allegations of the illegal activity. It alleges that after the two whistleblower complaints, Tripuraneni “was the subject of a systematic campaign of retaliation by his supervisor, Ramioulle.” According to the suit, Tripuraneni numerous times reported the reprisal and retaliation he was suffering to Infosys in-house attorney Jeffrey Friedel, but “the retaliation and reprisal by Ramioulle against him continued unabated.”
The suit also alleges that on or about Feb. 16, 2012, “an anonymous individual made a telephone call to Plaintiff’s home and threatened Plaintiff’s family. The anonymous caller asked why Plaintiff was complaining about Indian companies.”
As anyone who has followed my coverage of Palmer’s case knows, the similarities between the harassment and retaliation alleged by Palmer and by Tripuraneni are striking. Infosys did not respond to my request for a comment. But in a statement to the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Danielle D’Angelo, a spokeswoman for Infosys, said, “We have never retaliated against any employee and any allegations that say otherwise are simply not accurate.”