The lid just might be blown off the H-1B visa abuse problem by a couple of good ol' boys from Alabama. I can't say for sure, but I think the you-know-what is going to hit the fan.
As I mentioned earlier in my post, "Yes, We in the U.S. Media Are Lousy at Covering H-1B Visa Abuse," Infosys Technologies employee Jack Palmer last month brought a lawsuit against the Indian outsourcing services provider. Palmer, an American employee who works for the company in Alabama, is alleging that Infosys is engaging in large-scale visa and tax fraud, and is harassing him for refusing to play along with it. On Saturday I spoke with Kenneth Mendelsohn, the Montgomery, Ala., attorney who's representing Palmer. You can read my interview here.
Mendelsohn filed the lawsuit on Feb. 23 in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama. He told me that when Palmer went to work at the client site on Feb. 28, the Monday after the lawsuit was filed, he logged onto his computer and found a death threat on the desktop. "Jack, just leave. You're not wanted here," the message read. "Hope your journey brings you death, stupid American."
That's just one piece of evidence in a "stack of documents a show dog can't jump over," Mendelsohn told me. Here's a summary of the allegations in the lawsuit. I suggest you take the time to read it all, because it'll blow you away.
- During the course of his employment, Palmer learned that Infosys was sending lower-level and unskilled foreigners to the United States to work in full-time positions at Infosys' customer sites, in direct violation of immigration laws. Palmer also learned that Infosys was paying these employees in India for full-time work in the United States without withholding federal or state income taxes, and that Infosys overbilled customers for the labor costs of these employees.
- In March 2010, Palmer was invited to Bangalore for planning meetings. During one of the meetings, Infosys management discussed the need to, and ways to, "creatively" get around the H-1B limitations and process, and to work the system in order to increase profits and the value of Infosys' stock. The decision was made by management to start using the B-1 visa program to get around the H-1B restrictions.
- In order for a foreign Infosys employee to obtain a B-1 visa, an American employee of Infosys had to write a "welcome letter," basically stating that the employee was coming to the United States for meetings rather than to work at a job. Palmer's managers in the United States and India asked him to write these welcome letters. Palmer was concerned about the accuracy of the letters and the legality of these employees working in the United States, so he contacted Infosys' HR department. HR confirmed that Infosys' foreign employees could not work in the United States on B-1 visas, so Palmer refused to write the welcome letters. On July 1, 2010, Palmer was asked to join a conference call to discuss his refusal, during which he was chastised for not being a "team player."