Class-action Lawsuit Alleges Infosys Discriminates Against Non-South Asians

Don Tennant

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Infosys, alleging that the company has engaged in systematic, company-wide discrimination against Americans and others who are not of South Asian descent. The suit details alleged discriminatory practices stemming from the company’s abuse of the H-1B and B-1 visa programs, and makes extensive reference to alleged illegal and discriminatory activities revealed by Infosys employee and original whistleblower, Jay Palmer.

The new lawsuit, filed on Aug. 1 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, was brought on behalf of Brenda Koehler, an American IT project manager in Milwaukee who, the suit alleges, was denied employment at Infosys because she is not of South Asian descent. According to the complaint, “this matter is a class action with an amount in controversy of greater than $5 million.” Daniel Kotchen of Kotchen & Low LLP in Washington, D.C., lead counsel on the legal team that filed the lawsuit, was adamant about the egregiousness of Infosys’s actions.

“We are convinced there are very serious issues with Infosys,” Kotchen said. “We believe strongly in the case, and we look forward to prosecuting it.”

The complaint alleges, fundamentally, that Infosys’s actions are in violation of U.S. civil rights law:

Infosys has engaged in systematic, company-wide discrimination against individuals based upon their national origin. Specifically, Infosys has discriminated against individuals who are not of South Asian (including but not necessarily limited to India, Nepal, and Bangladesh) descent. Infosys discriminates against these individuals through disparate treatment in hiring and disparate impact in hiring in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Although the lawsuit refers to individuals who are not of South Asian descent as being the victims of the alleged discrimination, the complaint makes it clear that in practice, it is a matter of discrimination against Americans, stemming in large part from Infosys’s alleged abuse of the H-1B and B-1 visa programs:

Infosys’s discrimination is stunning in its scope and effect. Infosys employs more than 15,000 individuals in the United States and approximately 90 percent of these employees are of South Asian descent (including individuals of Indian, Nepalese, and Bangladeshi descent). Infosys has reached this grossly disproportionate workforce by directly discriminating against individuals who are not of South Asian decent in hiring, by abusing the H-1B visa process to bring workers of South Asian descent into the country rather than hiring qualified individuals already in the United States, and by abusing the B-1 visa system to bring workers of South Asian descent into the United States to perform work not allowed by their visa status rather than hiring individuals already in the United States to perform the work… Infosys’s use and misuse of B-1 visas have had a disparate impact on individuals of American national origin, who by definition will not be brought to the United States for work under these programs.

The legal team that filed the lawsuit made extensive reference in the complaint to the alleged illegal and discriminatory practices revealed by Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer, whose revelations sparked the ongoing multi-agency criminal investigation of Infosys by the United States government. The complaint also made specific reference to the government’s actions:

Upon information and belief, Infosys Defendants’ practices relating to visas and employment of foreign-national workers in the United States are subject to extensive investigations by multiple Federal Government authorities, including for potential criminal violations.

The lawsuit spelled out, moreover, what’s being demanded of Infosys:

Infosys’s discrimination as set out in this Complaint is continuing in nature. Plaintiff seeks, on behalf of herself and the class of similarly situated individuals, declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory, nominal, and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses to redress Infosys’s pervasive pattern and practice of discriminatory employment policies, practices, and procedures.

Kotchen, the lead counsel, said individuals who believe they have been denied employment by Infosys due to discrimination on the basis of national origin are encouraged to contact Michael Brown of the law firm Peterson, Berk & Cross SC.

Infosys did not respond to a request for comment.

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Aug 6, 2013 12:46 PM SS SS  says:
Don, it is not a class action lawsuit yet. They are seeking the class action status for the lawsuit that they have filed. I just love your obsession for linking B1 abuse to Infosys. B1 abuse is no where referred to in their lawsuit. Their accusation is all about discrimination in hiring and refers only to the H1B program. But you see B1 every where. Don't ya? Smell some coffee and get over it. Reply
Aug 6, 2013 4:06 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to SS
B-1 abuse is nowhere referred to in their lawsuit?? I suggest you read the complaint (which I linked to), my friend. It's referred to extensively in the lawsuit. I trust your oversight and false statements were unintentional. Reply
Aug 6, 2013 6:38 PM IndianTechie IndianTechie  says:
Jay Palmer the guy who freeloaded 150,000K in free pay and looked for a legal handout as a ticket to his American dream has been ordered to pay infosys's legal fees. Whoever the lady here is going to meet with the same fate. Go to El Polo loco and who do u see latinos latinos latinos. Go to Inn-n-out. Who do u see sir ? anybody a shade less white ? U think asian waitresses could not pass the "high standards" of applebees ? is that why I don't see asian waitresses in american restaurants ? Porn industry disproportionately employs white performers ? is that discrimination too perhaps. Mr. Tennant I'm sure u are eager to see Infosys go down. But not in this lifetime. Reply
Aug 6, 2013 10:24 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says:
I have no reason to want to see Infosys go down. I want to see Infosys admit its wrongdoing, make amends for it, and play by the rules from now on. Reply
Aug 6, 2013 10:25 PM Satish Chandra Satish Chandra  says:
I ) Indian media should cover nothing but Satish Chandra. India can economically grow 30% per year or more without foreign investment and be the world's supreme military power immediately for which he -- the world's greatest scientist -- has been suppressed with 24-hour satellite surveillance for 36 years. Modi is CIA-sponsored. All politicians are CIA-controlled. India's government is a proxy for the CIA. The requirement, brought by Manmohan Singh, for mid-career Indian civil servants (sending military officers for training to the United States has the same purpose) to go to U.S. universities for training so their future career prospects, promotions, etc. are controlled by Americans is meant to make India's government as a proxy for the CIA more perfect. A long-standing requirement in American and British universities is that to receive a Ph.D. degree from them, Indians have to agree to work for American or British intelligence agencies. IndiasLegitimateRulerSatishChandraDOTblogspotDOTcom People from Telangana try hard to get into the United States despite the racial discrimination though in language, culture and history they differ a lot more from the United States than from the Reply
Aug 7, 2013 12:56 AM SealTeam6 SealTeam6  says:
Some relevant articles... "Infosys rejects claims of hiring discrimination in U.S. Infosys Ltd, India's second-largest software services provider, rejected allegations by an American job applicant that she was not hired for a position in the United States because of her nationality." http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/06/us-india-infosys-lawsuit-idUSBRE9750EX20130806 " The myth of America's missing software engineers For the top 10 jobs where H-1B visas are requested, only three do not currently have enough qualified American jobseekers to satisfy demand, according to a new study." http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2013/08/05/immigration-h1b-visas-tech-jobs/?source=cnn_bin Reply
Aug 7, 2013 1:56 AM Avg. Infosys Employee Avg. Infosys Employee  says: in response to IndianTechie
PORN Indystry?? You are sick man!! Better keep this kind of talks at your home or in the confines of your manager. Indian Techie or Indian IT doesn't need your cheap phsycophancy. Reply
Aug 7, 2013 2:32 AM SS SS  says: in response to Don Tennant
Don, it indeed was an oversight which I realized a bit later after reading through the lawsuit... but how about correcting yourself on claiming it to be a Class-action lawsuit.. As clarified by Infosys.. "It is important to understand that no proof of class action suitability has been presented and no court has ruled that the case is appropriate for class action treatment.." We trust your false statements are unintentional.. For all its worth, I hope this lady is not being misled by another incompetent lawyer of Mendelsohn's ilk.. Reply
Aug 7, 2013 9:02 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says:
Don, We American techies have been trying to tell the media this for FIFTEEN YEARS. This isn't just IndoSys. This has been going on all over America in the millions for over a decade. The Indian Outsourcing Regime (known as Indian Mafia in some parts) has been deliberately keeping Americans out of work for over a decade ON OUR OWN SOIL. Indians are all taught in schools from a very early age back home that they are poor because the "evil white people" (i.e. the British) came and robbed them 200 years ago. We let millions of them in here and what do you think their behavior is going to be? We need to put a stop to this right now as it's clearly illegal, not to mention racist. Reply
Aug 7, 2013 9:05 AM Wakjob Wakjob  says: in response to IndianTechie
Looks like IndianTechie is afraid and jealous that the truth is finally coming out about what Indians are really doing in America. Most American businesses want nothing to do with Indians as employees because they are all corrupt dishonest conmen, They are only employed by IT companies because they have NASSCOM/IndoSys bribery backing them and they bribe American managers to employ them who otherwise wouldn't give them a second thought. Reply
Aug 7, 2013 6:00 PM STFU STFU  says: in response to Wakjob
stop barking and check some facts, Many American businesses hire Indians, which includes Apple, google, MS and not just IT but retail/finance all industries, so lift up your lazy ass and get to work before you are fired. Reply
Aug 8, 2013 5:41 AM jake_leone jake_leone  says:
We won't know for certain for a while, but this case looks like it will stick. There really is no reason for outsourcing companies to be granted any Visas. It's absolutely ridiculous to grant companies that have 90% of the U.S. engineering workforce, to even be allowed use of our immigration system. And for people outside the United States, the temptation for abuse and fraud is just too great. We have seen a lot of federal visa abuse cases in recent years. Which makes me wonder, if the fraud perpetrator had to face any jail time, we would be seeing dead bodies. The visa trade is lucrative, like the drug trade, and for people making 1200$ a year, the temptation to engage in fraud, do kick backs, is huge. The organized criminal element of visa fraud isn't (currently) facing any jail time, hence no need to kill anyone, YET. Why can't lawmakers, Senators in particular, have any forsight on this. Reply
Aug 8, 2013 1:25 PM DHL DHL  says: in response to STFU
@STFU-- I agree with you, but this is what happens when Indian workers perform.. If Indians here are the cream of the crop the why isn't the US booming? It should be if they are all super magik Indians as you claim. In fact, they've DESTROYED a vast portion of American industry: Companies ruined or almost ruined by imported Indian labor Adaptec - Indian CEO Subramanian Sundaresh fired. AIG (signed outsourcing deal in 2007 in Europe with Accenture Indian frauds, collapsed in 2009) AirBus (Qantas plane plunged 650 feet injuring passengers when its computer system written by India disengaged the auto-pilot). Apple - R&D CLOSED in India in 2006. Australia's National Australia Bank (Outsourced jobs to India in 2007, nationwide ATM and account failure in late 2010). Bell Labs (Arun Netravalli took over, closed, turned into a shopping mall) Boeing Dreamliner ES software (written by HCL, banned by FAA) Bristol-Myers-Squibb (Trade Secrets and documents stolen in U.S. by Indian national guest worker) Caymas - Startup run by Indian CEO, French director of dev, Chinese tech lead. Closed after 5 years of sucking VC. Reply
Aug 8, 2013 5:57 PM CheezWhiz CheezWhiz  says: in response to DHL
Truth: Indian workers not any better/more effective than equally-educated Asian, SE Asian, European, African, Mediterranean or probably Antarctican (if, indeed, there were such a population) workers - all human, all roughly equivalent. Problem: any time anyone tries to cut budget by hiring cheaper, you get (surprise!) less effective people. So frickin' obvious. Bottom line: the tripod still applies - better, faster, cheaper - pick any two and the third suffers. Eventually, people will figure this out. I hope. Reply
Aug 8, 2013 9:41 PM Odumbo Odumbo  says:
oh guys, you're too obsessed with this outsourcing nonsense. Never learn. This will fail too - as another poster commented. Why are only hispanics hired in mexican food places or asians in asian restaurants? Or why does Congress have majority whites or even on this site, how many asian writers are there? you get the point? you can selectively select your racial bias if you want to. This one will end up like the way Palmer's did - A DUD! Give it up guys. You guys lost the visa debate a long time ago. Reply
Aug 9, 2013 12:17 AM mojo mojo  says: in response to Wakjob
When are we going to learn blaming others is not a solution? What have you done to resolve this problem other than pointing fingers at others? Do you know current state of CS education who could join IT industry? Please go to http://tealsk12.org/ you will at least learn some basics on this big problem. Below are some facts for everyone's knowledge... AP Exams taken by K12 students (Entire US) on 1997 and 2012 for comparison US HISTORY 1997 - 150K 2012 - 425K ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 1997 - 0 2012 - 107K CS 1997 ~ 24K 2012 ~ 25K Main reason for less students shown interest on CS is no school offers the course and reason for no school offers the course is no qualified teachers who stick around (for less salary obviously). When a person can make at least $60k why would they go for $45k salary in public school? What TEALS does is, gets volunteers like you and me working in IT to help students and a Teacher (who works in that school) to create a sustainable environment to get CS to every school. Yes, every corporate lies about shortage but I doubt volunteers from TEALS would or real data would. JOIN TEALS!! Solve real problem with real solution. Reply
Aug 9, 2013 4:10 AM US Citizen Born and Bred US Citizen Born and Bred  says:
Don, while all your facts aren't exactly accurate, you are right on and trust me, the news that will be forthcoming in the next few weeks will rock their world. 1) Murthy is visiting for a dog and pony show in Texas next week (gag); 2) Murthy has ordered the layoffs of dozens and dozens of US workers to move the work to India - that will happen shortly (after he leaves of course) and 3) The B-1 issue is true and Infosys WILL pay. 4) and the B-1 issue is just the beginning. I know. I'm there. I'm inside. And I can't wait to see them pay for what they've done to their workers, this nation, and watch those billions drain away. Arrogant idiots at the top will get what they have coming. Maybe this firm could help with a class action from the laid off employees who will be notified around the end of August, after Murthy leaves town. Sell your stock, shareholders, this company IS going to go down the toilet and their sins are only beginning to be exposed. Reply
Aug 14, 2013 4:03 AM US Citizen Born and Bred US Citizen Born and Bred  says: in response to US Citizen Born and Bred
We can thank Ms. Koehler for her support; she just saved a whole lot of HR jobs that Murthy had ordered cut/slashed. now they're too scared of another class action lawsuit so they called off the RIF dogs for now. Thanks Brenda - for having the courage to call them to task on their hiring practices. Watch as they try to gather all the "hiring data" - they can't find anything - appropriate records were never kept. This should be fun to see as they reinvented their immigration program after Jay Palmer, and now they will reinvent their hiring practices too. It's about time, InfoCheat. You will be exposed from the inside out, and the outside in.... remember, the Americans in your firm don't grease their hands under your table, you arrogant pigs. And America in general is sick to death of this "business model" of robbing our countrymen and women from these jobs!!!! Reply
Aug 14, 2013 4:57 PM Hindu Landoo Hindu Landoo  says: in response to US Citizen Born and Bred
You mentioned that next week there will some thing coming, is this still on cards? Reply
Aug 26, 2013 12:57 PM Haha Haha  says: in response to US Citizen Born and Bred
You were right. Now it is Indian media as well. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Infosys-planning-to-cut-onsite-jobs-Sources/articleshow/22064661.cms Reply
Aug 27, 2013 1:07 AM hindu landoo hindu landoo  says: in response to US Citizen Born and Bred
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/job-trends/Infosys-plans-to-cut-onsite-effort-by-20/articleshow/22081032.cms BANGALORE: The common view has been that the growing immigration challenges in the US would push Indian IT services companies to hire more local Americans. While that will certainly happen to an extent, companies are also exploring ways to do more of its American clients' work offshore. Infosys is said to have set a target to reduce its onsite effort (calculated in terms of manhours spent) to 20% of its overall effort, from about 25% now. One part of this initiative is to deploy fewer people on the client site and deliver those services from development centres in the same time zone, or nearshore locations. Another part is to find ways to offshore the work to India. We have come up with a list of options like more offshore, local development centres, same time-zone development centres and higher local recruitment. We are also doing some pilots with much higher offshore to see how it will work, but we have not executed on any of the plans," said Infosys CEO S D Shibulal at a conference hosted recently by investment firm Oppenheimer in the US. Reply
Mar 25, 2014 11:08 PM Jason Jason  says:
I would have to agree with this. I love the idea of diversity but when it becomes non proportional and they start to look at ME as the outsider and discriminate against me in my own country, then its pretty f-cked up. Reply
Apr 12, 2014 3:39 AM LocalHireFired LocalHireFired  says:
I was a local hire (US) for Infosys working as a Project manager since last 3 years. I was terminated recently indicating inability to staff. However, during the same period there is LCA open for the role of in CA as well as other states. I requested to be considered for all opportunities in US but was not given the opportunity and terminated. The logic is simple employees from offshore are preferred as they are paid much less than the onsite recruits. .Also during the period i worked i was always told to work extra hours for the company without being paid for it which i had refused.. Reply

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