Infosys Whistleblower Receives Another Death Threat

Don Tennant

Jay Palmer, the Infosys Technologies employee and whistleblower who has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging visa and tax fraud, last week received a second death threat, this time with a reference to his family included in the message. According to Palmer's attorney, Infosys has taken no action to protect Palmer or his family.

 

As I reported in my March 15 post, "H-1B Visa Fraud Case Against Infosys May Be a Game Changer," Palmer, whose given name is Jack, had received a death threat in February, several days after his lawsuit became public:

[W]hen 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."

Palmer received the second threat via email on April 21, and it was even more sinister. The email, a copy of which I have in my possession, reads as follows (spelling as it appears in the email):

if you make cause for us to sent back to india we will destroy you and yuor family

Palmer brought the email to the attention of the Infosys Whistleblower Team, which on Monday informed Palmer's attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, that it turned the email over to Mitch Allen. Allen is the attorney hired by Infosys as an independent counsel to investigate Palmer's harassment and retaliation claims.

 

I spoke with Mendelsohn earlier today, and he noted that the timing of the new threat was interesting, coming just a week after Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, in which he cited the Infosys visa fraud case:

I think there is a legitimate concern [among people within Infosys] that Grassley and Congress and Clinton and the rest of them could take some steps that could really hurt Infosys and their visa program. If they find them guilty of visa fraud, there's all kinds of stuff they can do, and I think the word has gotten around Infosys. Everybody knows that Grassley has been hot and heavy against a lot of the stuff Infosys is doing. From what I'm seeing [from a legal perspective] they can basically shut down their visa program. They can go in and find every one of them, and send them back. It just depends how aggressive they want to get with them. So I do think that the typical Indian worker who's over here, whether he's on an H-1 or B-1 visa, is probably concerned that if this goes down, they're going to be deported back home.

Mendelsohn said he had made Grassley's office aware of the new email threat, and that the office had responded. He declined to disclose any information about the response.

 


I asked Mendelsohn if there was any way to get some kind of injunction or court order to compel Infosys to provide protection for Palmer and his family. He said the court system typically doesn't work that proactively:

We have requested Infosys to assist in providing protection, but I haven't gotten any response from them, and don't expect to. Unfortunately, even though there are grounds for injunctions from time to time, most of the time our legal system is reactive, as opposed to proactive. I think the solution for us is for Jay to take appropriate steps to protect himself and his family, and any additional costs he might incur I will include in the complaint for damages.

I asked him how Palmer is holding up under all of the intense pressure that he and his family are feeling, and Mendelsohn said it's been tough:

He has some good days, and some very concerned days. I can't imagine waking up and getting an email like the one he just got. They also have him on the bench now-he's being paid, but they don't have a job for him. The contract with [the previous client] was ended, and there's other work available for him, they just won't put him to work. So a guy like Jay, who's used to 60-, 70-, 80-hour weeks, and dedicating himself to his company and his clients, and now he's not working, that makes it doubly hard on him. It's been tough on the guy, and he's had a lot of courage in seeing this through. He's almost a poster child for why people don't become whistleblowers. The bottom line is they've done nothing to protect this guy since this whole thing started a year ago.

Mendelsohn said Infosys hasn't explained why it has Palmer sitting on the bench, but he has his own theory:

Jay has received information that there are other places that need his skills. It's one of two things: Either they don't want to put him someplace because they know if he discovers illegal conduct there, he'll report it; or they're just trying to put added pressure on him. That's all I can think. No matter what has happened all this time, they can't say one bad thing about the quality of his work. He has done an excellent job, he has helped secure more contracts for Infosys, the clients he's worked for have loved him, and he's done everything that's been asked of him. Irrespective of anything about him reporting criminal matters or suing them, they can't say anything about his work. So it just doesn't make sense to me why they wouldn't have him working somewhere.


Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 25, 2011 7:00 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

Well, here's one threat you can't blame on Tunnel Rat. Good to see you getting to know them as we American IT folks do. We aren't surprised. Our only surprise is that Jack is still safe and sound. He's our hero for sticking his neck out like this.

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Apr 25, 2011 8:30 AM JS JS  says: in response to Dolores

Surprised to see such fraud cases more than a year before election time in US.  Free trade and freedom to legitimately work are hiden under the carpet.

Dont know why American companies opt for foreign skills and the fact of major Indian corporates creating jobs in America and for Americans has gone largely un noticed.

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Apr 25, 2011 8:35 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to JS

If Indian companies are creating jobs in America, it's almost all for other Indians. They don't hire many Americans, that has been established. The number of jobs they've provided for Americans is absolutely microscopic compared to the number of jobs they've taken from us. To hell with free trade and freedom to "legitimately' work. The H-1B was only supposed to be used to supplement the American workforce by temporarily filling a need for rare skill sets until an American could be found. If it had been used properly, not a single American would have been displaced. As it is, hundreds of thousands have. The inquest hasn't gone anywhere near far enough. Only a tip of the iceberg of fraud has been uncovered so far. America has had enough. We can't afford this "cheap" labor any more. Where is our freedom to legitimately work in our own land, when there are jobs here but we are kept out of them, while foreigners come to work here? This must end quickly.

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Apr 25, 2011 9:39 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

Perhaps a better title would be : Are H1Bs prone to violence ??

Of course we don't have any evidence that the death threats are coming from H1Bs but then Don did not have any evidence either to support the article : Are H1B opponents prone to violence ?

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Apr 27, 2011 4:06 AM Gary Collins Gary Collins  says:

Well...for one thing, the infosys fraud is still not proven...all the comments seem to come from the same folks. Probably one reason why this isnt receiving wide media coverage is because it isn't true.

also, there are many instances where US companies have been responsible for wiping off populations...in india, the bhopal gas tragedy (you can look up on the net), was caused by Union Carbide for which, believe it or not, none of the US persons were even jailed! They are still scot-free for comitting mass murder. Wonder why there is no such indignation when someone of our own commits far heinous crimes

Also, why dont you look at it from this angle - GM, Boeing, Fords, GEs and many other american companies sell so much of their stuff in India...do they ever ask whether they employ Indian people for selling it back to them? why should they even allow these companies...

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Apr 27, 2011 9:46 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Gary Collins

What we sell and gain from our economic relationship with India is a drop in the bucket compared to what we have lost (and continue to lose). Go ahead and believe that Infosys and the other companies are playing fair. You're probably still waiting for Santa Clause and the Tooth fairy, too. Those of us who actually work in American IT have known for at least a decade that such companies are guilty as hell of all sorts of foul play. The truth about them is coming out fast, and non-IT America is waking up to the economic devastation.

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May 1, 2011 12:11 PM Bhopal Bhopal  says: in response to Gary Collins

Since you mentioned Bhopal, did you know that the Indian governments are thought to have been complicit in denying justice to the affected Indian citizens ? Check these:

1. http://www.indiaecho.com/news/view/American-Indians-protest-Bhopal-judgement-/985

2. http://theprudentindian.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/why-should-not-we-question-rajiv-gandhis-complicity-in-bhopal-aftermath-mr-manish-tiwari-what-is-unpatriotic-about-it/

Indian Congressman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, wrote to Prime Minister Singh giving a "clean chit" to Dow Chemicals:

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u86XS85p-3Q

Other Indian Congressmen Chidambaram and Vilasrao "rooted for" Dow Chemicals:

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mUL4Yx47AU

Some of them were also lawyers or lobbyists paid by Dow Chemicals. In India apparently there is no conflict of interest.

Without Indian complicity, the victims of Bhopal would have received justice by now. On how some letters obtained by journalists "show some of the most powerful men in government and industry, from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to P Chidambaram (then Finance Minister), Kamal Nath (then Commerce and Industry minister), Ronen Sen (then Indian Ambassador to the US) Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Abhishek Singhvi, Congress spokesperson and Ratan Tata, among others, consulting each other on the best way to allow Dow Chemical to evade liability in paying for the remediation (or clean-up) of the toxic contamination in Bhopal.." check this:

5. http://www.tehelka.com/story_main45.asp?filename=Ne260610coverstory.asp

Now, we can talk of bhopal.

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May 4, 2011 11:24 AM AmericanCitizen AmericanCitizen  says:

Hi Don,

            I came upon this Blog by chance. You've got a site that is very relevant and important for the American Citizen. All Americans have to be aware of all the nonsense going on in the H1B area. It is way beyond time to STOP these H1B Visas and all the other Work Visas, and make way for Jobs for the Millions of Our Citizens who are desperate for work. Most of these H1Bs are frauds and have to be fired ASAP and Americans hired instead.

If i were the President who really cared for America,  I would ASAP sign a Bill authorising a STOP to all Work Visas, except for those who get a PhD Degree in America. No more renewals of Work Visas. Time to send these H1Bs out! No more Discussion and Political Correctness. Have a 5 year freeze on all Work visas. Time to take our country back!

Who the heck are these Indians to come to our Country and Dictate Terms to us? The H1Bs in the IT are are like Mafia. These guys have to be kicked out of America

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May 17, 2011 8:46 AM Free-minded Free-minded  says:

Reading "American Citizen's" bigotry was amusing. India is the 2nd fastest growing economy in the world and everyone and his uncle and aunt and dog are in India to do business, including armtwisting the government for multi-billion deals like fighter jets. 50 years back, the picture would've been different, now one can say it cuts both ways, well n truly.

No one did any handwringing when millions of blue collar jobs of all hues, high & low paying, fled US and moved to China in a mad rush, but when it came to so-called elitist white collar services jobs, people are now shedding tears. If H-1s are stopped, companies would resort to telepresence and video conferencing and offshore the work en masse. Services offshoring is a reality, we all need to deal with it. Blocking people movement across artificially created national boundaries would get increasingly difficult in the coming days as communication technology explodes all over (China is trying its best by blocking all kinds of sites and conversation  - for every site blocked, something else would come up).

Dogma, bigotry, hate speech and rabble rousing are fantastic options for armchair warriors who don't have to take responsibility for the consequences, but for folks in power, its a complex reality they need to deal with on a daily basis, whether it be impact on currency movements (China/India/Korea/Taiwan together hold billions of USD) or trade embargoes (quid pro quo by any of the BRIC countries).

On a related thought, giving out 65,000 H-1 visas per year in a country with 200,000,000 working population is really nothing. A million H-1s coming in 10-15 years where 200mn are working is bringing the economy to its heels? Everyone needs to get real. H-1 folks pay taxes in US, total offshoring will leave not even that for US economy.  Look at cutting edge research that companies like Intel, GE and Motorola are doing in Bangalore, for instance.

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