Just a few days before the trial of the alleged visa fraud case filed against Infosys by one of its US employees, Jack Palmer, the Bangalore-based IT services company is set for another legal battle of almost the same intensity.
The latest blow has come from one of its former employees, Satya Dev Tripuraneni, who has filed a lawsuit alleging harassment by the company after he reported visa and tax fraud incidents by the managers there.
In the lawsuit filed in the Federal Court in California on August 2, Tripuraneni, a US citizen, has alleged that Infosys routinely brought foreign workers to the US on short-term business visas and billed its clients, thus evading taxes. Tripuraneni, who worked as an accounts manager with Infosys for almost five years, claimed that after reporting these issues, he was subjected to harassment by his seniors and subsequently forced to quit. On being asked, Infosys said it had started a detailed investigation on his allegations.
|IT’S LABOUR TROUBLE IN US
- In 2006, Infosys accused of violating California’s labour laws for not paying overtime wages to immigrant employees; finally settled by paying $26 mn
- In 2006, class-action suit filed against TCS, accusing it of breaching employment contracts and violation of the California Labour Code
- In 2012, US District Court Judge grants class-action status to suit filed against TCS; case to come up for hearing in Sept
- In Feb 2011, Jack ‘Jay’ Palmer files suit in an Alabama court, accusing Infosys company of misusing B-1 business visa programme; case set for trial on Aug 20
“Shortly after Mr Tripuraneni filed his complaint with the Infosys whistle-blower team, as per our policy, the company launched a comprehensive investigation of his allegations. That investigation is continuing,” the company said in an emailed statement.
“As for comments on the legal matter, we are choosing to concentrate our attention and resources on the investigation. We feel this is the prudent and responsible course of action at this time,” it added.
The fresh visa abuse charges come at a time when the lawsuit filed by whistle-blower Jack Palmer is set for trial in the Federal Court in Alabama on August 20 after the court-directed mediation process fell through last month. Palmer, who continues to be an employee of Infosys, had also alleged retaliation by Infosys after he brought visa irregularities to the fore.
Infosys has alleged the copies of email communication with the company Jack Palmer submitted as evidence were forged. However, Palmer’s attorney has refuted the charge and said since Infosys manages the server where the emails are stored, it is not possible for his client to tamper it.
Indian IT services companies are heavily dependent on H1B and L1 visas to send employees on deputation to work at clients’ sites in the US. However, the visa rejection rate has gone up significantly in recent times, according to industry insiders.