Infosys CFO Publicly Claims No Visa Violations, Despite Company's Internal Admission - Page 2

What Balakrishnan can't be so easily forgiven for is his astonishing "we have not violated any of the rules" claim. I have seen any number of internal documents that have spelled out the violations in graphic detail, and I've shared some of them in this blog. I've even shared the full text of a Dec. 8, 2010, email from Jeffrey Friedel, Infosys' corporate counsel, to Palmer and Linda Manning (a second whistleblower who, as I have previously reported, was working in Infosys' human resources department and has since left the company), in which Friedel acknowledged the violations and the steps Infosys was taking to correct them. Here, once again, is the full text of that email:

I wanted to give you a brief update on the progress of the corporate action taken in response to the investigation of your complaints regarding B-1 visa ("BV") compliance issues. The issues that you reported to us have made it clear to management that certain changes need to be made to our systems and processes to prevent the misuse of the BV program. To that end, we have identified the following solutions for immediate action:

 

Solutions:

1. Clarify the range of activities permissible on BV (outside counsel have provided an exhaustive list of all acceptable activities as per the law)
2. Modify iTravel -- Employees and approvers to certify the all [sic] activities they will perform at onsite on BV.
3. Modify DART [Daily Activity Report Tracking] to create linkage to activities certified in iTravel.
4. Employees to submit DART mandatorily onsite and select from the activities certified
5. Modify ORF [Overseas Return Form] to not allow submission till DARTs are submitted for the onsite duration
6. Create online training plan and communiques to improve awareness on BV travels
7. Provide for regular random audits of BVs to ensure ongoing compliance

 

I appreciate your help in bringing these matters to our attention. Obviously there are still other aspects of this that are ongoing (i.e. discipline for those that are found to have violated company policy/law; Jay's desire to change groups etc.) and this e-mail is not meant [to] suggest that this investigation or action is complete. However, I thought that it was important for you to understand the corporate action that has been agreed as a result of your bringing these issues to the attention of the company.

I'm happy to leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about why this is what Infosys has acknowledged internally, while externally the CFO is saying, "We are very clear that we have not violated any of the rules." As you're drawing them, here's some food for thought from Palmer's attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn. I spoke with him a few days ago about all of this, and he put it in a context that makes the bigger picture a little clearer:

What Jay blew the whistle on were very, very serious violations of United States immigration, visa and tax laws. That's why he's been ostracized, and why he's been shut out of the system, and why they won't put him on a job. They have to isolate him, which is a form of retaliation, but it's also self-preservation, because they know that Jay will report any crimes to the U.S. authorities. A big part of this case is it's not just Jay-they have a long history of punishing people who stand up for their rights, and rewarding those who help cover up the crimes. I've got several other whistleblowers who will testify about when they reported violations, they were harassed and discriminated against. I have other people who have not come forward, and told me they haven't out of fear that they would be treated like Jay has been. There are former employees who have left the company because they couldn't go along with the criminal conduct anymore, but they were afraid to file an internal whistleblower complaint because they saw what happened to Jay. You can't let companies come in here and violate our laws, and then punish those who do the right thing and report the crimes. But the fact is, they know they are guilty of these crimes. And that's where the retaliation comes in. I've seen it in other cases-there have been a bunch of cases where people who work for Infosys wanted to take Christian holidays off, and were discriminated against for wanting to take off on those holidays. There are people who were punished because they reported sexual abuse-there have been many cases against Infosys. So it's just been a pattern and a practice that if you fight the company, and stand up and report something that's going on that's wrong, you get punished. And the ones who go along with the crimes get taken care of.

In any event, if Balakrishnan wasn't prepared to tell the truth about the violations in that interview, he would have been much better advised to just stick to some non-response like, "We cannot comment on pending litigation." Instead, he chose to make an overt, sweeping denial that Infosys had violated any rules. The people who read this blog know that makes Balakrishnan either a bold-faced liar or a bumbling oaf who has no clue what he's talking about. Either way, when the time comes that the whole world knows what happened, it will be extremely difficult for Balakrishnan to be taken seriously as a competent, trustworthy corporate executive.



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 8, 2012 1:17 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says:

Reply to "Richard": I'm deleting your comment because of the hateful reference to people from India. If you have to engage in hate speech, take it someplace else.

Reply
Feb 8, 2012 2:16 AM Richard Richard  says: in response to Don Tennant

Sorry dan. Wanted to bring truth as it is. Will eb careful of my words next time.

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Feb 8, 2012 4:00 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

"So he would be well advised to change his story before he's questioned under oath."

If he says something different under oath and Infosys stocks take a dive (assuming they are convicted of something) could he be exposing Infosys to future litigation?

Investors have been known to sue for damages when company executives mislead them or make false statements on issues that can impact financials.

Being intellectually honest for a moment, I really don't care if Infosys investors lose money or if they are being deceived by the company.  So maybe I'm not the person to opine on this since I would probably cheer an Infosys against the ropes.  My view is that the way to correct bad corporate behavior is to punish the investors.  When they feel it in their pockets, that behavior will stop.  So I want them to feel financial pain - the same amount of pain people their company discriminated against feel.

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Feb 8, 2012 9:08 AM Mark Mark  says:

Interesting Letter from Iowa Senator Grassley's to President Obama regarding our current policy on H1B's

http://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=38933

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Feb 9, 2012 7:01 AM Elsa Elsa  says:

While it definitely sounds like there's more going on here than visa infractions, I think this whole issue highlights the urgent need to streamline U.S. visa regulations. Byzantine policies only encourage illegal behavior.

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Feb 9, 2012 9:14 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Mark

Grassley's letter is going straight to the circular file.

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Feb 10, 2012 4:50 AM ITJob ITJob  says: in response to George Alexander

Here is one interesting education rate analyzed among OECD member countries...

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/61/2/48631582.pdf

Got the pdf from

http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10366521-us-workers-behind-korea-uk-germany-19-others-in-science-and-math

Section of the report

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development analyzed education rates in its member countries and found that the U.S. is below average in the relative number of 25- to 34-year-old workers who have a degree in so-called STEM fields such as science, engineering, computing and statistics.

That's a potential problem because research has shown that innovation in any economy depends on how many workers have such degrees, said Ronald Ehrenberg, director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

'It is something that we should be concerned about,' Ehrenberg said

There are about 1,472 math and science grads for every 100,000 employed 25- to 34-year-olds in the United States, according to the data. The compares to more than 3,555 in Korea, which leads the chart, according to the OECD figures based on 2009 data.

The United States falls between Spain and Iceland on the chart, and is noticeably lower than the OECD average. The figures do not reflect how many people with STEM degrees are actually employed in their field or using the skills they learned.

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Feb 10, 2012 10:56 AM ITJob ITJob  says: in response to Mark

Grassley's letter is great but did he put effort to understand the reason behind Mr.Wedel not able to get job?

Nothing wrong to expect a job in my home town but if I couldn't find one for 3yrs then I should know I'm living in wrong location for my skill set, but blaming someone else for my choice is seems to the wrong part.

Oh, lets blame H1b who cares...as long as blame is not on me I'm fine.

Here is the problem Mr.Wedel faces now...he wants a job where he lives unfortunately no company where he lives.

Here is the real story from his own mouth...but his wife twisted it the way she wanted it.

"Wedel told The Washington Post he was laid off because of a plant closing."

And when he got job offers...

Jennifer Wedel said her husband has gotten calls from around the United States. The White House contacted some of the companies on the Wedels' behalf, she said.

"We had the head guy from Intel call us and basically said, 'If you move to New York, we'll get you a job.' ... It kind of gets me teary-eyed, because I wish we could," Jennifer Wedel said.

Darin Wedel turned down the offer from Intel as well as three other out-of-state jobs and one in Austin because his custody agreement does not allow him to move away from his daughter's mother, who lives in the area.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46319918/ns/local_news-dallas_fort_worth_tx/#.TzUuTVyXRui

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Feb 10, 2012 11:57 AM George Alexander George Alexander  says: in response to ITJob

H1-b has conveniently become a scapegoat for some people who 1. can't get a job because they can't and 2. those who can get a job but won't.

Mr Wedel's problem is not with H1-Bs but with his circumstance (#2).

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Feb 12, 2012 10:29 AM DaTruth DaTruth  says: in response to ITJob

Infosys is pathetic and so is their CFO and executives, and most of mid level management have just stuck on for last 10/15 years and have not worked any other firm. Hence there is no broad vision or understanding of the problems. These guys operate as cheap bodyshops and have no processes at all.

In one case there were meetings so that employees don't file overtime and how to keep the knowledge of exempt/non-exempt hidden from employees. Employees who do file are sent back to India at the first opportunity.

These guys need to be penalized and taught a lesson. America, please wake up! Don and others better try to reach out to more media and highlight this as a serious issue very soon.

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Feb 13, 2012 1:51 AM Richard Richard  says: in response to ITJob

Dude the fact you brought has nothing to do with Indian IT bodyshops. Please dont remain gullible to the fact that these bodyshops have some real genius engineers or scientists to begin with. These bodyshops do low end work and also cheat America/Europe to make more money. The real engineering genius of India do not work for these Indian IT bodyshops, they do research or do other jobs.

Reply
Feb 13, 2012 1:53 AM Richard Richard  says: in response to DaTruth

Interesting. One more example of how Infosys cheats. Can you please bring more facts related to the cheat behavior you saw

Reply

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