Having the Guts to Hold H-1B Abusers Accountable

Don Tennant

In my post on Tuesday, "H-1B Visa Fraud Case Against Infosys May Be a Game Changer," I wrote about Jay Palmer, a U.S. employee of Infosys Technologies, who has brought a lawsuit against the giant Indian outsourcing services provider. The suit alleges that Infosys has been engaging in visa and tax fraud, and that Palmer has been subjected to harassment and reprisals because he refused to go along with the fraud and instead reported it to the Infosys Whistleblower Team. The suit raises a lot of tough questions that Infosys will have to answer in the coming months. And it raises an equally tough one for other U.S. employees of Infosys: Why is Palmer the only one we know about who has had the guts to report the alleged abuses?


Palmer (whose given name is "Jack" but who goes by "Jay") has allegedly had to deal with outrageous abuse himself, including a threatening message left on his computer: "Jack, just leave. Hope your journey brings you death, stupid American." One can only try to imagine the toll all of this is taking on him and his family.


I asked an Infosys spokesman whether any of the company's U.S. employees other than Palmer have raised visa fraud concerns with Infosys' management, and whether any Infosys employees on B-1 visas are working at client sites in the United States, as alleged by Palmer. His response: "Due to ongoing litigation we are not commenting further on any visa related questions."


Infosys' U.S. operation is Fremont, Calif.-based Infosys Consulting Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indian parent company, Infosys Technologies. In addition to Fremont, it has offices in Atlanta; Bellevue, Wash.; Bentonville, Ark.; Bridgewater, N.J.; Charlotte; Detroit; Hartford; Houston; Lake Forest, Calif.; Lisle, Ill.; New York; Phoenix; Plano, Texas; Quincy, Mass.; and Reston, Va. The spokesman told me there are about 12,000 Infosys employees in the United States.


At this point I don't know whether any of those employees has witnessed the abuses alleged by Palmer, but it seems highly implausible that he could be the only one. Maybe some of them have had the courage to step forward and report the abuses to Infosys' management. If you work for Infosys and have any information on visa fraud, please let me know by e-mailing me at dontennant1@gmail.com. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential.


What we do know is that Palmer is the only one who has had the guts to try to hold Infosys accountable for its alleged fraud, and to open the matter up for public scrutiny, by going through the burdensome process of filing a lawsuit. And I have a hunch that not only Infosys, but the other big outsourcing companies as well, are starting to sweat bullets. I happened to notice that someone from Cognizant Technology Solutions scoped out my profile on LinkedIn on Wednesday. That's the same Cognizant that in 2009 was forced by the Department of Labor to pay 67 H-1B visa holders a total of over $500,000 in back wages, because it tried to beat the system by underpaying the workers. You can bet that the likes of Cognizant, Wipro and Tata are scrambling to come up with damage control plans in case one of their employees summons the courage to blow the whistle.


As Infosys scrambles to file its response to Palmer's suit, I share a concern that was expressed by a reader:

It would take a very large scandal (like maybe Infosys getting caught red-handed) to get the feds to step up enforcement. And even a scandal is no guarantee. That could very likely result in another "GAO Study" to get to the bottom of the issue. After the study is complete, well that's yesterday's news. We've got plenty of data and now is the time for action.

It's essential that Palmer not be in this alone. The feds need to be all over this case. In my recent post, "Contacting State, Federal Reps Just Got a Whole Lot Easier," I wrote about a Web tool you can use to write to your government representatives-it's extremely convenient and it's free. Use it to tell Washington to investigate not only this case, but the activities of the other big Indian outsourcers. Don't rant. Don't attack. Be respectful. If you come across as an informed, concerned, decent citizen, hopefully your voice will be heard.

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Mar 17, 2011 2:01 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson

But where are the U.S. citizens other than Jay Palmer who work for Infosys? Why aren't they summoning the courage to speak up? Where are the U.S. citizens who work for Tata and Wipro and the others? Are we to believe that they haven't observed what Palmer has observed?

Mar 17, 2011 2:04 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson
Mar 17, 2011 3:12 AM Warior Warior  says:

I thought H-1B visa is for best and brightest, base on GAO report more than 50% of them work on entry level ?? Is Entry level really need these retarded H-1B visa ?? It is clearly more than 50% H-1B visa is fraud anyway, there no need to attack B-1 visa..

Mar 17, 2011 3:34 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

For Computerworld to pick up the story is very good. Every job in America right now is a precious commodity and we as a nation really need to get a handle on our job market.

Mar 17, 2011 4:26 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

H1B abusers being hold accountable.

That is a good one.

Not likely to happen.

This stuff has been going on for decades and only now is anyone starting to notice.

Lets use some common sense

If a job can be done overseas for less than a third of the cost then that job is going overseas.  The only (and it is not a good thing but...) good thing about the publicity is that it is likely to get these third world jobs out of the US.  This should be a no brainer : It is far more preferable to take the job out of the US than to bring more foreigners to the US.  An American probably won't be able to get the IT job in the first place so we just should ship it overseas.

Complain all you want (and you should) but if you are young and just starting out then avoid IT like the plague.  It is only getting worse and you don't want to enter a field that pays almost nothing in many cases.

Mar 17, 2011 4:32 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> But where are the U.S. citizens other than Jay Palmer who work for Infosys? <<

Maybe they want to keep their job.

Lets use some common sense

And get real.

If you start any litigation against your former employer then you better win a lot of money as you won't be getting another job.


Don't come back and say that won't happen.

You are going to be blacklisted by every other employer once you sue one.

>>  Why aren't they summoning the courage to speak up?  <<

It's easy for YOU to ask someone to "summoning the courage" but to just cavalierly ask for someone else to do so might be a little bit too much to ask for.

>> Where are the U.S. citizens who work for Tata and Wipro and the others? Are we to believe that they haven't observed what Palmer has observed? <<

Maybe they have but it has not been publicized.

Mar 17, 2011 8:30 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

Here's another lawsuit: age discrimination in job ads.

Mar 17, 2011 8:32 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores
Mar 17, 2011 8:40 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

Ooops, sorry, in my haste the link didn't get included.

BTW, if you remember back before IBM absorbed Daksh, Daksh used to have blatant ads that listed an upper experience limit for even senior jobs.

But here's another development to make American nerds' stomachs turn:


Mar 17, 2011 10:36 AM Dolores Dolores  says:

Don't forget the poor H-1B who was literally 'taken for a ride' when he tried to complain: www.computerworld.com/s/article/9175616/N.J._H_1B_case_reads_like_i_Sopranos_i_episode

Back when I was in taking accounting classes, we were told that there is little defense against insider collusion. That's what you've got here: Big Business (remember Bill Gates testifying for more H-1Bs, keeping them while they laid citizen workers off?), the foreign staffing companies (let's get real, their laws and standards are way different from ours, and they've been bringing theirs here), and --- this is the saddest part: the third world worker who, whatever they do to him, is getting a better deal here than back there, or so it seems to him when he signs up. They've been playing our Congressmen with their lobbyists and PR firms for over a decade.

You're right, we have to speak out but this won't be an easy battle.

Mar 17, 2011 11:49 AM sara coyle sara coyle  says: in response to Dolores

Hi - The H1B NJ story is posted on networkworld


Mar 17, 2011 12:48 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says:

The problem is that most of the witnesses to fraud are also H-1b holders themselves.  The company has a great deal of leverage on them - and can easily whisk them away back to India. 

And when back in India, these guys can be subjected to jail, beatings, and blacklisting.  India and the US are nothing alike when it comes to labor rights. 

This is why corporate sponsored visas simply won't work.  We can't count on corporations to follow the law, because we don't have the resources to enforce the law.  We can't count on foreign workers to file complaints because of the leverage corporations have on them.

"Go ahead and file that complaint.  By the way, your brother, cousins, and friends all work for us.  I'm sure they will regret your complaint."  You are dealing with mob-like mentalities.

Unless we offer serious protections to whistle blowers (green cards for them and their family) expect them to remain mum.

Mar 18, 2011 3:00 AM Joe Joe  says: in response to R. Lawson

hmmm...I can see one common theme among all comments and also with the main blog post. Why are you assuming that Palmer is correct and that the visa abuse practice that he mentioned in his practice is practiced everywhere else ?


which age are you in ? Jail, beatings and blacklisting.. really ? you are right, India and US labour rights are not equal especially in IT. India's laws protect employees more.

example : in India you need to provide 3 months notice for laying off in IT sector and in US ...one-day ?

May be if you are serious with these comments, you have to read some Indian newspapers also !

Mar 18, 2011 3:08 AM sara coyle sara coyle  says: in response to R. Lawson

dHello R. Lawson

"And when back in India, these guys can be subjected to jail, beatings, and blacklisting. "  I was a little surprised by this as well.  Could you post some references?


Mar 18, 2011 4:39 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Joe

Why are you suggesting that Palmer is not accurate in his allegations? The man is a close-up eye witness to the companies doings. It takes guts, documentation, and evidence to bring forward a case like that. I can't think of a lawyer who'd do it just on somebody's say-so. No matter how much money, and Palmer isn't rich.

Mar 18, 2011 5:22 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Dolores

Yeah, I have to agree. You don't do something like this and subject yourself to threats, harassment and reprisals unless you have proof of the allegations. And having spoken at length with the attorney who filed the suit, I can tell you this guy is sitting on stacks of evidence. My hunch is that Infosys will probably settle, which is unfortunate. I'd love for the case to be heard by a jury and for every shred of evidence to be made public.

Mar 18, 2011 5:25 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Don Tennant

There's still the age discrimination suit. Infosys wouldn't settle with EEOC mediation. And I think Tata may be due for an audit of those offices they set up in the US. Supposedly they were going to hire Americans.

Mar 19, 2011 3:03 AM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Dolores

Speaking of age discrimination, here's another site listing minimum and maximum experience levels. And look where the jobs are. careers.peopleclick.com/careerscp/client_sungardindia/external/search.do

Mar 20, 2011 1:23 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Don Tennant

>> ...every shred of evidence to be made public... <<

This stuff has been going on for years.

Nothing wrong with making this public but to be "surprised" as a "tech journalist" doesn't say much for a "tech journalists" skills.  IT people knew this stuff has been going on for over 20 years.

The evidence is out there and if the YouTube video which even got to Congress did not change things then this probably won't either.

Mar 20, 2011 4:41 AM Tunnel Rat Tunnel Rat  says:

Where were you tow years, Don when I was blogging about Infosys getting sued by an American of Indian descent?


Infosys management routinely disparaged Americans, including Mrs.Awasthi, as not having "family values," and stated that layoffs in America are good because the jobs will be outsourced.

Infosys management ridiculed Mrs.Awasthi for celebrating the American holiday of Thanksgiving, telling her that she should not celebrate Thanksgiving because she is Indian, and that therefore she must work on Thanksgiving Day.

Infosys management ridiculed Mrs.Awasthi's children for celebrating Thanksgiving, and called them "ABCD" short for "American-Born Confused Desi," and "IBCD" short for "Indian-Born Confused Desi," insulting terms used to criticize people of Indian ancestry who are Americanized.

Infosys management ridiculed Mrs.Awasthi for celebrating Christmas, saying that "we" do not celebrate Christmas, and that she should not celebrate Christmas.Infosys management repeatedly discussed the quality of Mrs.Awasthi's work by explicitly commenting on their expectations for "a woman your age."

I saw someone of my best friends marched out like criminals to make way for Infosys scabs. You can read about here, you collaborator pussy:


Joe, Infosys Casualty

"A few years ago, I worked at a major payroll outsourcing company, let's call it ADP.This was at the end of the dot-com boom, and I had just left a contract at EDS after turning down their offer to go full time.

The project was a big online tax-payment system, with clients like B of A, Union Bank, and others.I came on in the middle of the project, just before beta.There were about 12 on the team, half contractors and half FTEs.They had a solid in-house architecture team, who had laid down the framework and kept things rocking, code wise.BTW, not a single CEWP among them.

So I get busy, and take over the front-end team.There where two ex-COBOL guys, both long-time FTEs that were being retrained to be web developers.One was a dud, a fat-fingered mouth-breather that couldn't code to save his life.

But the second guy was a gray haired Vietnam vet named Joe.Joe was a legend at ADP.He had seen all the shit, and lived to talk about it.He knew where the bodies where buried.And he also had a son that had committed suicide, and he volunteered at nights at the Crystal Cathederal, running a suicide hotline.

I loved Joe.

He was a warrior, a guy that still could keep up with the latest technologies, even though he was pushing sixty.He had just had a kidney replacement, and the drugs made it hard for him to stay awake in boring dev meetings.Can't say I blame him.Those sessions sucked.

Joe and I bonded.He would give me shit about the Marines, and I would talk trash about the Army.I taught him about web development, and he taught me about life.His devotion to the spirit of his dead son was epic.

One day, something weird was going on.First one of the dipshit I.T. Reply

Mar 20, 2011 4:41 AM Tunnel Rat Tunnel Rat  says:
managers came over and tapped the fat-fingered mouth-breather on the shoulder and I never saw him again.Then they got the primadonna Vietnamese prick that had been sabotaging the project from day one.I made some calls.They were all getting shit-canned, escorted out.

Joe comes in at about 10 AM, and I tell him about the executions.Good thing it wasn't him, we joke.

Ten minutes later, the collaborators come for Joe.They wouldn't even let him pack his shit, just escorted him to a conference room, where he was forced to sign some paperwork in order to get his severence.

I never saw him again.

Guess who showed up the next day?

Two fuckwads from Infosys, the lead element of what was to be a massive offshoring initiative."

Mar 21, 2011 12:23 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

"Where are the other US employees"

Great question - I don't know.  There aren't many Americans working for Infosys so statistcally Jay Palmer's lawsuit means that a high percentage of them are blowing the whistle.

Also, what's to say there isn't an American mole already leaking Infosys documents?  You just never know how or when the next scandal manifests itself

The difference in my experience with H-1b workers and Jay Palmer's is that he was asked to participate in a crime, and was punished because he refused.  I've never been in a position that would require me to be in those types of situations, but I have seen clear violations of visa rules. 

As an example, one worker was paid, if memory serves, twice his "Indian Salary" while on the H-1b visa.  Unfortunately, his Indian salary at the type was about $5k a year - meaning he was being payed $10k as a software developer being billed out at nearly $100 an hour.  The only reason I was ever aware of this is because they guy showed me his paycheck - I worked up a report with him and he liked to talk.  I've told this story before, but I never could prove it so nothing came of it.

You'll find alot of anecdotal stories like I've got, but Jay is a special case because he has proof of more serious crimes and their own attorneys seem to be admitting the same.   I hope the government is watching this case closely, and in the court room taking notes.

Mar 21, 2011 12:31 PM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Joe

Joe, I've been following this issue for over a decade.  Take that for what it is worth.

If you want other accounts of jail, beatings, and black listing you can do two things.  First, read the article in the very first comment by Delores in this thread.  Second, actually talk to people from India and listen to their accounts.  I have spoken with Indian labor activists (we have common interests - I see this as more of a labor issue that immigration issue, but I digress).  Indian labor activists have told me some very compelling stories.

If you're expecting some 60-minutes type investigation from me on this you'll be dissapointed.  There are some videos produced by undercover Indian media outlets doing an expose that are interesting - dealing primarily with scam artists who rob people in India claiming that they are authorized to process visas.  The fraud and abuse starts before they arrive on American soil - with job shops treating programmers how pimps probably treat their girls.

Jun 15, 2011 10:10 AM Amit Amit  says: in response to sara coyle

While Jail will not be so easy for employees but they are sure threatened with legal notices. I see in Germany that Tata Consultancy Services takes tax refunds from their employees which is illegal. They normally make the employee who is on assignment to sign the Power of Attorney that the employee wants the employer (read Tata Consultancy Services) to get the returns.


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