As public outrage against Infosys rose and its stock plunged following yesterday's CBS News report that gave the world its first opportunity to see and hear Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer, Infosys executives have made a subtle but remarkable shift in their denial strategy. Infosys in one day has gone from a denial of having a corporate "practice" of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa program, to denying only that it had a corporate "policy" to that effect. And it has finally admitted that violations to U.S. law have indeed occurred.
In yesterday's post, "CBS Coverage of Infosys Story: One Step Closer to a Changed Game," I included the full text of the statement that Infosys supplied to senior correspondent John Miller in response to his request for a comment. That statement included this sentence:
Any allegation or assertion that there is or was a corporate practice of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa program is simply not accurate, and we will vigorously defend the company against any false allegation to that effect.
But in a statement released by Infosys after the CBS News report aired, Infosys made this stunning change:
Any allegation or assertion that there is or was a corporate policy of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa program is simply untrue.
What this means, of course, is that Infosys finally recognizes that it can no longer deny its rampant practice of engaging in visa fraud. Its strategy now is to base its denial on the premise that it didn't have a formal "policy" in place to evade the law.
It's a subtle distinction that the casual observer is unlikely to notice, and it's a distinction I've written about in the past (see my post, "Irresponsible Claim: U.S. Firms Have 'Policies' to Displace American Workers"). That Infosys is now making that distinction in the wake of the CBS News broadcast is incredibly telling. One can only imagine the damage-control meeting in the bowels of Infosys that yielded that change to the company line.
The change was echoed in remarks earlier today by Infosys CEO S.D. Shibulal, who is no longer denying that there have been violations. In fact, he confirmed that there have been violations:
There has never been any policy or scheme to circumvent the B-1 program, we have always adhered to the highest level of corporate governance, legal and ethical ways of running a business. As and when we have heard of any kind of violation, we have taken very strict action, including very strict disciplinary action, including dismissal.
The damage that needed to be controlled included a 13 percent plunge in Infosys's stock price yesterday, the biggest drop in three years. I told you this was going to be a wild ride. Stay tuned.