Palmer on Feds’ $34 Million Settlement with Infosys: ‘It Was Never About Me’

Don Tennant

A quest for justice set in motion just over three years ago, when an American Infosys employee blew the whistle on alleged rampant visa fraud at the Indian IT services provider, came to a climax today when U.S. government authorities announced that Infosys would be slapped with the largest immigration-related penalty in U.S. history.

It was in early October of 2010 that Jay Palmer, a highly regarded Infosys project manager from Alabama, filed an internal report documenting Infosys’s alleged practice of illegally using B-1 business visas to send Indian employees to work at client sites in the United States. A lawsuit filed in February 2011, alleging that Infosys had engaged in systematic retaliation against Palmer for blowing the whistle, made Palmer’s allegations public, and led to a multi-agency U.S. government investigation of Infosys, spearheaded by officials from the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.

At a press conference in Plano, Texas, today, those officials announced that their investigation “indicated that Infosys manipulated the visa process and circumvented the requirements, limitations, and governmental oversight of the visa programs,” and that Infosys “has agreed to a civil settlement of allegations of systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes by paying a record [$34 million] settlement amount and agreeing to enhanced corporate compliance measures.”

Infosys issued a statement saying that it “denies and disputes any claims of systemic visa fraud, misuse of visas for competitive advantage, or immigration abuse. Those claims are untrue and are assertions that remain unproven.”

I spoke with Palmer earlier today, and I asked him for his reaction to the settlement. This is what he told me:

Today is not about me. It’s about these U.S. government officials, their investigation, and their enforcement of the law. I have no regrets about doing what I think was right, and following my conscience. I just wish that Infosys would have reached out to me, and embraced me, and let me be a part of the solution. I hope [Infosys founder and executive chairman] Mr. Murthy can bring the company back to the ethics that were there when he originally founded the company. It just saddens me that I more than likely won’t be a part of it. It was never about me. This was always bigger than me. It was always about the law, and about the people I worked with. I truly miss the people that I worked with—I miss the relationships, I miss the interaction. That’s been the hardest part of this entire thing. I miss the clients that I worked with. It’s not a happy day for me. It’s a sad day for me, because I loved the people that I worked with, I really did. I loved working with the Indians, I loved working 12 or 13 hours a day. That’s just how I feel. This was never a personal vendetta. This was about what I thought was right, and what I thought was wrong. From the beginning of this, I’ve always tried to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I realized that unless I stood up, nothing would ever be done. I still think I did the right thing, and that’s all I care about.

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Oct 31, 2013 12:06 AM Us citizen Us citizen  says:
I really appreciate Mr.Palmer for standing up and bringing the issue to forefront. wish more people like Mr.Palmer should come forward to raise such kind of issues. US government should scrutinize all Indian companies who provide services to us companies. Definitely there are more companies like infosys who are fraudulent and discriminatory when it comes to hiring IT professionals , abusing visas. Reply
Oct 31, 2013 2:06 AM Chamat Chamat  says:
So Palmer's all allegations were untrue and unproven. Infosys paid fine for irregularities in I9 form which Palmer never raised, he always maintained misuse of B1 visa which was not proved or found. His other allegation of retaliation was already dismissed by Fedral judge last year. Reply
Oct 31, 2013 3:49 AM Orb Orb  says:
Hi Don, I have followed this case through your posts for the last three years, and I must say that you were the only person in the world who was interested in writing about this case. The media in the US did not think this was big enough, and let Infosys get off easily. I'd imagine the slap on the wrist would have become a punch on the face had the rest of the media bandwagon joined you. Similarly, in India, the media that is on the payrolls of most corporates, conveniently spun the story to suit Infosys. You, Mr. Palmer, and his attorneys need to be congratulated for your constant pressure on the US administration, by not letting the case lose its steam. I'd say, this is a personal victory for all of you and you should be proud that you did not give up. I am an Indian, and I know how we get protective of our jobs here due to threats from low-skilled countrymen who are ready to work for even lesser money. I can understand the pain of your countrymen to see them being replaced so easily. I hope balance is restored soon and the nonsense about Infosys being an ethical company dies soon. Congratulations, and it would kind of you to convey my best wishes to all related to the case. Reply
Oct 31, 2013 3:26 PM a a  says: in response to Us citizen
why indian companies, ibm, microsoft n all walk on that grey line, the no mans land, but you blame indian companies? Reply
Oct 31, 2013 5:02 PM Drifter Drifter  says: in response to Chamat
And this matters, why? Jay called these cheats to the carpet and the Feds found them guilty. Case closed. Of course he got harassed. Jay will be a very rich guy and he won't have to worry about working any longer. Reply

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