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Whistleblower In Limbo After Reporting H-1B Visa Fraud At Infosys

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the par-for-the-course dept.

Businesses 276

McGruber writes "The New York Times has the sad story of Jack B. Palmer, an employee of Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing firm. 17 months ago, Mr. Palmer made a quiet internal complaint that Infosys was committing visa fraud by bringing 'in Indian workers on short-term visitor visas, known as B-1, instead of longer-term temporary visas, known as H-1B, which are more costly and time-consuming to obtain.' Since making his complaint, Mr. Palmer 'has been harassed by superiors and co-workers, sidelined with no work assignment, shut out of the company's computers, denied bonuses and hounded by death threats.'"

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276 comments

Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39678445)

Jack B. Palmer first made a quiet complaint through internal channels at Infosys,

Was he really naive enough to think that these were the actions of some rogue managers and that the company would be thrilled to have him put it all in writing? Did he expect them to send him a Thank You letter, beginning with "Thank you for putting this illegal activity, that we've been quietly doing for years under the table, into writing. We really appreciate that you've opened us up now to criminal liability and that your complaint will cost us a fortune. We're so glad that you did this instead of looking the other way and keeping your fucking mouth shut like everyone else in the company. Here's your bonus!"

Dude, if you're going to be a whistleblower, accept that it means you have to burn that bridge. There is no going back across it and expecting everything to be the same afterwards. Being a whistleblower means making the right moral choice and then paying the price for it. Yeah that sucks--but what's new, huh? Jesus and Superman didn't fight the Romans and Lex Luther without expecting some backlash, you know.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Norwell Bob (982405) | about 2 years ago | (#39678491)

That pretty much sums it up.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 2 years ago | (#39679565)

That pretty much sums it up.

Nice "me too" but no, not entirely. There's a lesson here for other would-be whistleblowers.

The lesson? Don't try to be a nice guy by going through channels, keeping it internal, identifying yourself, etc. Instead, quietly collect all the absolutely damning evidence you can gather, be certain that it names names, and then bring it straight to the authorities. If you can remain anonymous while doing that, like an informant, then so much the better.

If this is how someone who raises a benign warning is going to be treated, then just fucking nail them as hard as you can. They are obviously unworthy of someone who wants to be amiable and play softball, as one would expect of the kind of sociopaths who create this situation in the first place. Instead of letting this frighten you into reluctant silence, just don't put the ball in their court to begin with as that's terrible strategy.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (4, Insightful)

mbstone (457308) | about 2 years ago | (#39678553)

"Thank you for putting this illegal activity, that we've been quietly doing for years under the table, into writing. We really appreciate that you've opened us up now to criminal liability and that your complaint will cost us a fortune. We're so glad that you did this instead of looking the other way and keeping your fucking mouth shut like everyone else in the company. Here's your bonus!"

He had to write it. Otherwise he would sue, and their lawyers would say, "Heavens to Betsy, who knew? Why didn't you tell us?"

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

manoweb (1993306) | about 2 years ago | (#39678565)

Jesus fighting the Romans??? ...

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (4, Funny)

jesseck (942036) | about 2 years ago | (#39678611)

Jesus fighting the Romans??? ...

The Roman Empire didn't fall on its own.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#39678687)

Neither did the British Empire, or the Incan empire, or the Japanese Empire, or the Russian Empire, or the Galactic empire. Man Jesus is awesome at killing empires!

If you ever build something that might be called an empire, its probably safer to just call it a principality, lest Jesus kill it.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#39678661)

Apparently the Romans *and* Lex Luthor. Good thing he had Superman on his side. Must've been one helluva team-up.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678763)

In the not so distant future, Superman's clash with Lex Luthor results in him retreating into a strange chamber. Before Superman's eyes, the world shifts, imagery of the America he knew is replaced with what looks to be ancient Roman stylings. With the aid of dissident Centurion Wayne, he is able to get the time-chamber working again and Superman is propelled to the ancient past. But not the past we know of, an ancient world where Roman rule is enforced by Lex Luthor's cunning and genious. In this strange alien past, Superman finds the only one who can help him right the timeline, Jesus.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678913)

Well the series started out alright, but shortly after the teamup, Superman kept invoking his new "turnTheOtherCheek" attack. The series devolved into long rants with little progress. Although it perks up again after the duo attempt a double-martyr, and we get to see a test of skill between Roman engineers' ingenuity and Superman's ability to put up with this shit.

And Lex Luthor forgetting to bring along some kryptonite? Isn't he a genius? Shouldn't he ALWAYS have an emergency vial of the stuff on hand? Simply unbelievable.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#39678909)

Lex Luthor goes back in time to give the Romans Modern Technology, in exchange he will become Emperor. Superman flies back in time to join forces with Jesus to stop them.

As Luther amazes the Romans with modern water purification systems Jesus turns it into wine where the Luther and the Romans get so drunk that allows Superman to catch Luther and destroy the advance technology.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (2)

mydn (195771) | about 2 years ago | (#39678833)

The only people Jesus fought were bankers. He whipped their ass!

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#39678845)

A good portion of the world is Monotheistic, the majors religions that are not Monotheistic are not praying to Roman Gods.
Jesus +1 Romans -1

The reason why the Jewish people were really hoping for a Messiah to come was because their land has been taken over by Rome, and pressured to change religions to the Roman one. They didn't care much for it. Jesus came and according to Christianity and some sects of Judaism he was the Messiah however he didn't do it the way they thought so the Jewish people dishearten and basically had him killed.

However most of Jesus teaching had a sharp tongue against the Priests who basically worked for the Romans and was allowed to be corrupted by them.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1, Informative)

Ironchew (1069966) | about 2 years ago | (#39679169)

A good portion of the world is Monotheistic, the majors religions that are not Monotheistic are not praying to Roman Gods.
Jesus +1 Romans -1

False cause. Jesus died centuries before Christianity was anything more than a persecuted cult. If anything, the Roman emperor Constantine I was more directly involved with saving Christianity from total obscurity.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

ZipK (1051658) | about 2 years ago | (#39679255)

Jesus fighting the Romans??? ...

No - Jesus fought Lex Luther. Superman fought the Romans.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (4, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | about 2 years ago | (#39678599)

Was he really naive enough to think that these were the actions of some rogue managers and that the company would be thrilled to have him put it all in writing? Did he expect them to send him a Thank You letter, beginning with "Thank you for putting this illegal activity, that we've been quietly doing for years under the table, into writing. We really appreciate that you've opened us up now to criminal liability and that your complaint will cost us a fortune. We're so glad that you did this instead of looking the other way and keeping your fucking mouth shut like everyone else in the company. Here's your bonus!"

For one thing, no one's going to say "Yeah I expected they were totally going to shaft me for it because I always knew they were evil.".

Personally I am surprised, there was still time for the company to go "my bad", pay a fine and just walk away. Once people start putting pressure on the whistleblower like they're in the mob or even something really stupid like death threats, the company has essentially made it impossible for themselves to back down. They're virtually guaranteeing that management will be criminally prosecuted and will probably go to jail for what will turn out to be a fairly small amount of money.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679359)

They're virtually guaranteeing that management will be criminally prosecuted and will probably go to jail for what will turn out to be a fairly small amount of money.

In what country do you live in? And how can I get citizenship?

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679481)

You have to subscribe to the newsletter first...

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678633)

I don't believe that the complaint he made, via internal channels, was "whistle blowing." Now that he's taken it to the media, it definitely is whistle blowing, but he claims that the harassment started after the internal complaint, and before he informed any external parties. Given that, why would he expect to be harassed and discriminated against for following the proper procedures, within the company? That's why they exist, after all; or they exist to black-hole the complaints, but why would that lead to harassment?

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39678715)

Because putting it in writing in an formal internal complaint creates a paper trail that forces the company to either address it or face criminal liability. It's no longer an wink-wink-nudge-nudge, under the table thing. Now the company can no longer say they didn't know about it when the FBI comes calling.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (3, Informative)

Kreigaffe (765218) | about 2 years ago | (#39679307)

They still only made things worse for themselves by mistreating this dude. Both legally over the visa fraud, and over their retaliatory actions against dudeman.. though I'd think the latter would be a civil matter.

Gather evidence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678683)

I think he did it to collect ammo for his lawsuit.

Let's assume he's not quite fond of his job, and now he records all this evidence against him. Not only does he collect the whistleblower's fee, but also any civil suit against his managers/ superiors.

I don't know, but it's something I'd only do near the end of my career and have enough saved up for retirement.

Re:Gather evidence. (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 2 years ago | (#39678723)

I bet infosys is feeling stupid for outsourcing the death threats instead of using American IT workers to plant kiddy porn on his computer.

Re:Gather evidence. (4, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 2 years ago | (#39678983)

They should feel stupid for hiring an American IT worker and placing him in a management position. An Indian dev lead would not have reported this.

Re:Gather evidence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679289)

I bet infosys is feeling stupid for outsourcing the death threats instead of using American IT workers to plant kiddy porn on his computer.

Nah. Death threats are a union job; not something you want to try to outsource.

Re:Gather evidence. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#39678731)

Why?
He can easily get a job at a company that does not have any foreign workers or break other federal laws.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (5, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#39678697)

He wasn't really a whistleblwer. The action he took is described as a "quiet internal memo". The story only blew after 17 months of the company screwing with him. They should have thanked him, at least told him they were working on the situation, and left him alone, If they had taken that action, we probably would have never heard of it. Now, they come out smelling like garbage, he has a hell of a lawsuit he can throw at them, and all becuase they wanted to act like babies when some one told THEM that they were screwing up. I don't think naivete has anything to do with this.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0, Troll)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39678917)

I guess you didn't read the article - he's already sued them.

They're also paying him $90,000 a year to sit at home and do NOTHING.

In the meantime, he's turned into a nutcase. He bought a gun and keeps it strapped to his ankle when he goes out. He even drew down on a door-to-door salesman.

So someone taped a death threat to his chair at work, and he's gotten a few crank phone calls. Big. Bloody. Deal. Get a dozen women in a room and you'll hear at least six have gone through a lot worse without ending up pointing guns at unarmed strangers.

I have NO sympathy for this guy. He cries about how he can't stand not having real work to do. He outsourced plenty of jobs - let him experience some small measure of the misery he's caused in other people's lives. Karma's a b*tch.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39678995)

Carrying a gun doesn't make you a nutcase. Given how many get killed, raped, or assaulted, it is only logical to carry a gun or stunner.

As for your claim that he's whining "hw has no real work to do" please provide a link. Otherwise I have to reject your claim as having no basis.

I also have to reject your claim that he deserves death threats -- for what reason? Obeying the law??? I don't benerally listen to people who advocate law-breaking with falsified Visas. That makes you a criminal.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679165)

Carrying a gun doesn't make you a nutcase.

Pulling it on unarmed people does. Pay attention.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39679227)

As for your claim that he's whining "hw has no real work to do" please provide a link. Otherwise I have to reject your claim as having no basis.

It's right there in the NY Times story that the summary linked to.

Mr. Palmer is still on the Infosys payroll, but with no work and little communication from the company, and his moods swing erratically, he said. He has struggled with drinking, gained and lost 20 pounds and taken medication for anger and depression.

â€oeYouâ€(TM)re around people every day, and then all of a sudden you are staring at four walls,†Mr. Palmer wrote in an e-mail. â€oeNo one will hire me and I canâ€(TM)t quit, so they just torture me. I have become numb and cumbersome to this world.â€

Menacing calls to his home and his motherâ€(TM)s nearby prompted him to buy a handgun, which he straps to his ankle whenever he goes out. Always on edge, he drew the gun in February on a salesman who tried to approach his house to offer cleaning goods.

He's getting full base pay - $90,000 a year - to sit at home and do NOTHING!

His job deprived some of his fellow citizens of work AND a pay-check. So no, he has no work, but he keeps the pay? Call me back when they've stopped paying him, so I can make a point about karma.

And no, one death threat and a few crank phone calls is not a reason to go all paranoid, hit the booze (it's in the story), and become a risk to passers-by. If that were the case, most women would be be toting complete body armour, an RPG launcher, and a mini-gatling gun.

And nowhere did I advocate falsifying visas, so STFU and DIAF. Oh, look - now you can go around and get a gun too!!!

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679411)

He's getting full base pay - $90,000 a year - to sit at home and do NOTHING!

...so he needs to man up, take the $90K and use it to carry him while he builds up his own business or upgrades his skills. I can tell you, if you paid my salary, but sent me home and told me to hang around at home, I'd have no shortage of fun/interesting projects to do with my time. Yes, some of them would be a bit frivolous, but some of them have the potential to turn into something, and if I'm being paid to sit on my arse, there's no risk involved.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39679473)

His job deprived some of his fellow citizens of work AND a pay-check.

Did you just say that you approve of illegal activity if it results in a paycheck?

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (3, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | about 2 years ago | (#39679241)

I also have to reject your claim that he deserves death threats -- for what reason? Obeying the law??? I don't benerally listen to people who advocate law-breaking with falsified Visas. That makes you a criminal.

You could also argue that it was his duty to inform the higher-ups that their lawbreaking was obvious. You have a moral as well as a fiduciary duty to inform management of risks that could impact the business. If you know of a situation that could cost the company millions/billions in fines, civil judgements, and bad PR, and you *don't* report it, you're not doing your job.

(AFIK) Under Sarbanes-Oxley, not reporting illegal activity to management could wind up costing *you* your freedom. A paper trail will cover your ass when the shit inevitably hits the fan.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#39679027)

So someone taped a death threat to his chair at work, and he's gotten a few crank phone calls. Big. Bloody. Deal. Get a dozen women in a room and you'll hear at least six have gone through a lot worse without ending up pointing guns at unarmed strangers.

Hah. What an argument. Some women have gone through something worse, so a man has no right to feel physically safe. Right.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679257)

Hah. What an argument. Some women have gone through something worse, so a man has no right to feel physically safe. Right.

She's exhibiting the result of indoctrination.... typical feminist claptrap. Read Andrea Dworkin if you'd like an overview of the enemy.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39679497)

So you believe that a note left on his office chair and a couple of crank phone calls, and then sitting at home and being paid $1,800 a week to do NOTHING should turn someone into a paranoid gun-toting pill-popping drunk? Wow. Just .... wow ...

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0, Troll)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39679371)

You obviously didn't read the story. The guy has turned into a paranoid drunk on anti-depression meds (nasty combo) who is a menace to the safety of passers-by.

Not the sort of person who should be carrying a gun, especially since he HAS since used it carelessly.

Sitting at home while being paid $90,000 a year to do nothing is hardly an excuse for his current actions. Most sane people would love to have that sort of opportunity, to have time for self-improvement, follow up on a pet project or two, write a book, check out new career options, party a bit, travel, do some outside consulting, whatever.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679415)

Not to mention it's pretty stupid to whine about a $90,000 dollar/year paid vacation. Sure it's not "what would you want to do if you were a millionaire" money, but it's enough to find something more productive to do then spend it drinking and strapping a gun to an ankle.

I agree though, it's hard to feel bad for him simply for the job he had before they detailed his own self destructive bout with paranoia and alcoholism as he whines about being paid an incredible salary to do nothing.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39678743)

Speaking of "whistleblowing" there's a law making the rounds through Congress that would make it illegal. If you are a government or corporate employee, you can only blow your whistle to internal "mediators". And if you get fired, you're not allowed to tell anyone why you were fired.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised given Congresses' other recent actions (mandatory inurance purchase, the Protect IP Act, U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T., NDAA passage).

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 2 years ago | (#39678821)

Which is why we need strong whistleblower protections to encourage a decent culture where law is still important. You would think they would be right up there in the ladder of government protection with soldiers, police, firefighters, and paramedics.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678829)

Jesus and Superman didn't fight the Romans and Lex Luther without expecting some backlash, you know.

Please tell me what issue that was in, because that sounds AWESOME.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678837)

Regardless of what he expected to happen, it's reasonable for him to publicize the discrimination he has receive as a result of this. I'm not sure if you're saying "he had it coming" but if so, i think that people who believe in rule of law would disagree.

Re:Was he really naive enough to expect otherwise? (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#39679291)

Jesus and Superman didn't fight the Romans and Lex Luther without expecting some backlash, you know.

I was wondering what Christopher Reeve was up to these days. Glad to know he's still finding top-notch co-stars for his movies. Is that available through Netflix?

He still draws a check from Infosys? (5, Funny)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about 2 years ago | (#39678479)

They should just outsource his job - true poetic justice.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#39678587)

I don't know if that is poetic justice as I think that him trying to expose an illegal practice and unethical staff as being a source of injustice needing to be corrected via an apt or ironic punishment. Just saying.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678667)

When I was interviewed for the company, I was informed that you're paid hourly for the contract work you do, and are not salaried.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (0)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#39678753)

I have to wonder if this is some sort of elaborate troll.

The guy is still drawing a check, but doesn't have to work, and he's upset? Why can't he work on his own projects if he's got all this free time? I understand that there may be legal ramifications to freelancing while in an employment lawsuit, but that doesn't mean you can't do your own stuff, or volunteer. He says he was used to people being around, but now he's describing a prison-like experience. If he really craves human interaction that much, why can't he just go out to a bar? Find local singles groups? Go to the mall? Volunteer for an animal shelter? So little of this makes sense.

“You’re around people every day, and then all of a sudden you are staring at four walls,” Mr. Palmer wrote in an e-mail. “No one will hire me and I can’t quit, so they just torture me. I have become numb and cumbersome to this world.”

And did he just quote a Seven Mary Three song?

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#39678969)

The guy is still drawing a check, but doesn't have to work, and he's upset?

It all comes down to whether you have a good work-life balance or you live to work and work to live. A lot of retirees have the same reaction to retirement. Going from having a list of things that you have to get done to not having one can be stressful for some people.

For me, it would be awesome because I have so many tens of thousands of hours of backlog in my personal projects that I may never catch up as it is.... But if you don't have a wide range of outside creative interests, I could see how it could be very uncomfortable. It would be like starting your life over from scratch—a cold reboot of sorts.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#39679285)

I don't know, it just seems really odd to me, to hold an employer responsible for your life and happiness at the level he's doing. Like, if you're going to hold them responsible for making you a happy, fulfilled person, how do you reconcile any sort of separation of work and personal life? I don't think it would even be morally right to tell a company they're responsible for my happiness in that kind of way and then say, "no, I don't want to spam links to the product on my personal blog" or "no, you cannot see my cellphone records".

Hell, I think it's weird to even put that kind of responsibility on your spouse. Maybe I'm the weird one there, but I don't think so--I'm pretty sure that's at least some form of codependency.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678979)

He only gets paid contract working hours. To keep his job they can reqire him to be there, but not give him work, so no pay.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (1, Informative)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#39679323)

It says explicitly not that in the article though.

But in December, he said, he received only about $3,000 of a $45,000 bonus he believed he had earned. Since Infosys has assigned him no work at all since last April, he received no bonus for 2011, losing one-third of his income.

If a loss of $42,000 means he lost 1/3 of his income, he's still collecting $84,000 a year.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678757)

Outsourcing his job would require firing him, I'd think. Although, I'd admit that they could create a new position with the same roles and responsibilities and outsource that, but that would look rather conspicuous to the federal investigators.
If he quits, he gets no unemployment benefits.
If he's fired, he can apply for unemployment. There's also a possible severance check.
Add to that, if he's fired, it strengthens his case, as well additional liability claims against Infosys.
There may be an anti-moonlighting clause as well. Violate that, Infosys has just cause for termination and no unemployment benefits for him.

So, they idle him, hoping to force him to quit.

If it was me, I'd sign up for classes online and work on getting additional certifications or even another degree. That would keep me occupied while all this settles out.

Bottom line, importing 'slave labor' from other countries is common practice in the U.S., and at a time of economic crisis, it should be criminal.

Re:He still draws a check from Infosys? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#39678919)

Bottom line, importing 'slave labor' from other countries is common practice in the U.S., and at a time of economic crisis, it should be criminal.

I think his complaint revolved around the improper documentation of the imported slave labor, B-1 Vs. H-1b...
At my company we have only H-1b for those working on a Visa, I think the only B-1's we use are for those who are already employees with us in their home country and are on a job rotation assignment. The reason is simple: While a B-1 is cheaper and easier, if you screw up even once, the fine will make up the savings counted against ~12 H-1b's...
I don't know if that made sense... 1 'bad' B-1 is more expensive than ([12*H-1b's] - [12*B-1's]), give or take a couple. It's just not worth it when you deal with huge numbers of staff in a global company, too much room for error.
-nB

Not news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678507)

That's what happens to most whistleblowers.

It does not pay to do the right thing anymore. (if it ever did)

Hey at least he's not in jail like the goverment whistleblowers.

Re:Not news (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#39678643)

Hey at least he's not in jail like the goverment whistleblowers.

If you're talking about Manning, only a tiny fraction of what he released could be even remotely considered potential whistleblower material. The vast majority was random classified material that he found, and it's enough to put him in jail for life.

Re:Not news (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39678847)

"Classified" material that never should have been classified, but instead was trying to cover-up military blunders. Example: The whereabouts of the journalists who were killed. The military said "We don't know" to the poor family members, but they knew all along it was a friendly fire incident.

Other examples: Covering-up the shootings of kids and torture of POWs. I'm glad Manning and other wikileaks persons are not "just following orders" while military/war crimes are being committed. We the People deserve to know what is actually happening.

Re:Not news (2)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#39679247)

"Classified" material that never should have been classified

Some things we look at and think that people should know, and we may be right. However, information is often classified not because the information itself could damage national security, but because its release could reveal the identity of valuable intelligence sources to the enemy or could have other consequences not in our interest.

but instead was trying to cover-up military blunders.

Much of it wasn't even related to military, such as the hundreds of thousands of State Department cables. The military could throw out charges based on anything that could even be remotely considered to be whistleblower material, and still have enough to send him away for life.

We the People deserve to know what is actually happening.

No, we don't. Imagine a leak resulting in a New York Times front page in 1943, "Allies Crack German Enigma Code Machine!" when the Germans thought it was secure in a practical sense through the end of the war. How many battles would we have lost? Maybe even the war.

Re:Not news (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 2 years ago | (#39678881)

Yes! Bradly Manning is the ONLY government whistle-blower in jail. Nothing to see here comrade, please shuffle along.. and encourage your political representative to vote down these silly, useless laws.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistleblower#Legal_protection [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not news (1)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#39679335)

Your source states nobody else in the US who is in jail for government whistleblowing.

But it does reference the fact that Manning could have communicated his concerns to a member of Congress and be covered by federal whistleblower law.

Is anyone surprised they do this? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#39678521)

Infosys is out to make money. Companies are out to boost short term share prices. Do you think either care about the government's visa requirements?

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#39678581)

Of course, and that is why the punishments for these things have to make it not profitable. The simple way to do that is ban those people from ever coming back to the USA and fine the company millions. If the execs knew about it toss them in the clink.

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (1)

lcam (848192) | about 2 years ago | (#39678663)

I would be cheaper to telecommute anyway. What's wrong with a video conference call?

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#39678703)

Execs hate them, timezone differences, outages of all kinds, in short they seem great but have a ton of drawbacks.

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (1)

lcam (848192) | about 2 years ago | (#39678879)

They still have to deal with Jetlag and 12 + hours of airplane noise plus the requirement to going through TSA checks in their socks.

I didn't think about the drawbacks until you mentioned them. Thanks.

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (4, Informative)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#39678815)

Banning the exec from coming to the USA might also be a deterrent.

Rounding up all the current visa holder documents and giving them a good once-over would be fun too. But don't stop at Infosys.

Seriously, though, my bank rarely lets a withdrawal go by unnoticed, but our government can't keep track of work visas, much less tourists. Pathetic. No one in government or business as a dog in this fight - they all have reasons to avert their eyes from illegal immigration in all of its forms, work visas and H1whatevers included, and no less grievous than all the other forms.

Re:Is anyone surprised they do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678675)

Of course they dont care, but they should. They should be made an example of because they are unfairly competing in the marketplace with people who would follow the rules.

Guest Worker programs == pro-employer Fraud. (5, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#39678583)

"The New York Times has the sad story of Jack B. Palmer, an employee of Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing firm. 17 months ago, Mr. Palmer made a quiet internal complaint that Infosys was committing visa fraud by bringing 'in Indian workers on short-term visitor visas, known as B-1, instead of longer-term temporary visas, known as H-1B, which are more costly and time-consuming to obtain.'

Hopefully this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to more of these kinds of things.

Since making his complaint, Mr. Palmer 'has been harassed by superiors and co-workers, sidelined with no work assignment, shut out of the company's computers, denied bonuses and hounded by death threats.'"

Isn't that something called retaliation? People that have a vested interest in moving work offshore really hate it when there is evidence that you're doing it based on fraud - especially fraud that exposes them for being against US citizens.

If Infosys willing to do everything against this guy, he sure must have something damning enough to warrant death threats.

Re:Guest Worker programs == pro-employer Fraud. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#39678957)

If Infosys willing to do everything against this guy, he sure must have something damning enough to warrant death threats.

I was going to ask, how are death threats coming into this? It was short-sighted and foolish for the company to act against him through CIVIL means, but criminal means? To me, someone who has no legal or corporate experience, that sounds like some executives saying "Hey, don't just fine the company, send ME to jail too!"

Re:Guest Worker programs == pro-employer Fraud. (2)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | about 2 years ago | (#39679463)

I got the impression that it was other employees that were in the states on the wrong visas and had built a life here that were sending death threats, not random exec who is looking to save money.

That's just ammo for the civil suit to follow (4, Insightful)

CHK6 (583097) | about 2 years ago | (#39678609)

So when do we get to hear about Jack B. Palmer vs. Infosys in a civil case of corporate harassment? I swear these companies are just plain stupid.

How are they doing it? (5, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#39678627)

How are they getting around it? Are these workers completely undocumented? Are they lying at the border? Did they not fill out I-9s? Because if they filled out I-9s, and those were looked at by USCIS, this sort of thing would be picked up pretty goddamn quick.

Given the amount that I've personally spent on legal immigration, this pisses me off a little bit. I'm not exactly surprised, but it seems to be yet another case where breaking the law as an individual would have adverse consequences (e.g. in this case, where one would be banned from the United States between three years and indefinitely, depending on the overstay) while breaking the same law as a corporation is completely overlooked.

Re:How are they doing it? (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39678921)

>>>Given the amount that I've personally spent on legal immigration, this pisses me off a little bit.

Most legal immigrants feel exactly the same. Oftentimes the legal immigrants are the strongest supporters of blocking the illegals from coming in.

Re:How are they doing it? (2)

jpate (1356395) | about 2 years ago | (#39679249)

[citation needed]

Re:How are they doing it? (1)

Shados (741919) | about 2 years ago | (#39679343)

No need for a citation when its not a quantified statement really. "Often" can mean anything.

As a legal green card holder, illegals also piss me off. I waited years to be in a position where I could apply and i'm freagin Canadian (there's treaties between the two countries to make it super easy for some people to just move in, but i wanted permanent resident, and besides, I didn't qualify).

If there wasn't all the illegals to push aside, how hard do you think it would be for a senior software engineer married to an american citizen to just come in? I doubt i'd have had to even be either of those to do so.

Re:How are they doing it? (5, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#39679033)

B-1 visas is the tourist visa. Typically you can stay in the country legally for some 4 months or 6 months once you enter. The duration is decided by the immigration officer depending on the purpose of the visit. Typically Indian seniors visiting their sons/daughters would ask for 4 or 6 months. Once you are in, you cant get a driver's license, you cant get a SSN, you are not supposed to work, you can't get a US pay through any US Bank. But if you actually show up for work with a jacket and a laptop and call yourself "contractor visiting from off shore site to provide close technical support" no one is going ask for the employment authorization. So you work, though you are not supposed to.

Typically the visitor is employed in India and his/her Indian salary will continue to accrue in India. They give an expense account, which will be almost 40% of US salary. The workers usually live quite frugally and save it all and take it home. It is tax free in India because it is not really pay, just left over money in the expense account. Way back in 1980s when they offered such a deal to me, they were offering me 5000 Rs a month in India (twice the pay of a commissioned officer or as they call in India gazetted officer) and an expense account of $1800 a month. US starting salaries those days were around $36000 for an engineering undergrad.

This has been going on for a long time. I know of people who came like on B1. I know people who applied for B-1, the embassy in India smelled a rat and got "banned from applying for USA for two years" stamped on their passports.

Me, I came as F-1, struggled as PIGS (poor indian grad student) got H1-B then green card and then hurried to get my citizenship just in time to vote against Santorum in the senate election. woot!

Re:How are they doing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679275)

Good for you! That's the American way! Welcome to the club!

Re:How are they doing it? (2, Informative)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about 2 years ago | (#39679067)

> Given the amount that I've personally spent on legal immigration, this pisses me off a little bit.

You must have a nice, even temper. I'm also a legal immigrant to the US, and this stuff pisses me off a lot.

I was an academic H1-B for a while, and got a pretty good view of the hoops that my host university had to go through to do it, so I understand about the hassle and expense referred to in the article. The consensus where I did this was that the regulatory burden was mostly due to the corporate history of cheating, and they resented it a fair amount, but they were also pretty much terrified of screwing it up, even accidentally, because this might jeopardize their numerous federal grants. They were very, very careful to comply with all the regs.

If we could find a way to put that kind of fear into the corporate types, this problem would go away.

Re:How are they doing it? (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 2 years ago | (#39679105)

Because if they filled out I-9s, and those were looked at by USCIS, this sort of thing would be picked up pretty goddamn quick.

If I'm not mistaken, no one ever looks at them unless they Feds come knocking.

Re:How are they doing it? (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#39679467)

And I'm saying that for a gigantic foreign company like Infosys with such large amounts of visa-based employees, the feds should come knocking a hell of a lot more.

Re:How are they doing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679195)

They dont really have to lie. B1 visa is supposed to be used for high level business functions (negotiations, contract signing, business meetings). I suppose one could claim they are part of the negotiations team for an upcoming contract with some company, and continue to work (code) for an existing contract with same or a different company. It is illegal, but it cannot be easily proven. They are not paid in the US (except for daily allowances). The reporting structure can be complicated. They could report to someone in a foreign country, who is probably willing to claim that it is him, that actually, performed that piece of work. Also the requirements gathering meeting (which I believe is what majority of Infosys employees in the US perform), can be considered just a business meeting, and well within B1 visa requirements.

Posting anonymous, as a friend on mine works there (he is on H1-b for the record).

Re:How are they doing it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679507)

How are they getting around it? Are these workers completely undocumented? Are they lying at the border? Did they not fill out I-9s? Because if they filled out I-9s, and those were looked at by USCIS, this sort of thing would be picked up pretty goddamn quick.

They don't fill out I-9s because they're not employees of the US company. The way it works is that the Indian company employs workers, and sends them to visit the US on business trips. So long as the people are normally resident in India, employed in India and are visiting the US to do business on behalf of the Indian company, this is entirely above board. The problem comes when the Indian company is a shell which hires people (on Indian wages), send them to the US for a 3 month business trip to "consult", "meet with clients", "get training" or whatever, then fires them and cycles a new set of people through for 3 months.

I'm having a hard time being sympathetic ... (-1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39678709)

"the sad story of Jack B. Palmer, an employee of Infosys, the giant Indian outsourcing firm ..."

Sorry, but this is karma at work. No worse than one crook killing another ...

Re:I'm having a hard time being sympathetic ... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#39678759)

Perhaps he thought they were above-board and honest in their proceedings.

Either way, we win when there is exposed evidence of fraud.

Re:I'm having a hard time being sympathetic ... (2, Interesting)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39679087)

Perhaps he thought they were above-board and honest in their proceedings.

It doesn't change the fact that this guy is sitting at home being paid $90,000 a year (yes, I read the article) and whining about how he is going nuts because he doesn't have any real work to do.

He deserves it - over the last 7 years his job put plenty of his fellow citizens in the same position, minus the pay-check. I'd have the same level of sympathy for a crack dealer who complains about someone selling them fake drugs. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Rien.

He knew the details of the visas - that they were for people who were not supposed to be working in the country - and let's face it, he placed them anyway. So now he's going around with a gun strapped to his ankle (again, I read the story). He's in fear of his life and ready to blow people away (he drew down on a door-to-door salesman) because someone taped a print-out death threat to his office chair, and he's gotten a couple of crank phone calls?

He must have led a really, *really* sheltered life. Even high school would have been too much.

Naive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39678987)

How many more stories will it take before people realize the new rules? Don't ever talk to police, don't reveal wrongdoing, don't defend yourself, don't try to save people.....

Re:Naive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679583)

Nothing new about these rules. Do you think the disciples of Jesus were talking much to the roman police? Nah.

Ethics hotline (1)

FadedTimes (581715) | about 2 years ago | (#39678989)

Should have reported it anonymously through an ethics hotline the company may have or an anonymous email to people within or may be cc some people outside the company.

Yes thank you (0)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#39679011)

For showing us you are utterly clueless how the real world works. Anything short of taking out a hit on someone I would not snitch on my employer about it. And maybe even not that.

Not only costs (4, Interesting)

legont (2570191) | about 2 years ago | (#39679085)

There is much bigger reason why companies don't want to obtain H1-B. While on work visa, it's relatively easy to find some other employer willing to take you on H1-B or even on adjustment of status to Green Card. On the other hand, somebody working on B1 can't look for another job at all - he can't claim experience because it is illegal. Makes nice slaves. It used to be popular in 90s, but in little shops.

Re:Not only costs (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#39679573)

That's bullshit. I originally came to US on B-1 visa, and found an employer that sponsored H-1B. It was in 1993, and I was not on the level of bottom-of-the-barrel people that outsourcing companies love so much, but I was still a recent graduate with a few years of work experience, all of it outside US.

What's up with the title? (4, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#39679271)

The title says "H1-B visa fraud". But the fraud did not actually involve H1-B visas at all; it involved brining people in under B-1 ("business") visas - which do not permit working in U.S., but are for attending meetings, conferences and such - and then having them do actual work while in U.S. It is certainly a visa fraud, but its only relation to H1-B is that those people who were working have to be issued H1-B (or L-1, or one of several other types of visas permitting it) to work.

Is that just shoddy writing, or a a cheap attempt to stir up the usual flamewar over H1-Bs "stealing our jobs"?

Pure unadulterated Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679279)

When IBM,Accenture,E&Y do it, it is good business when TCS, Infosys do it it is headlines.

Re:Pure unadulterated Hypocrisy (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#39679483)

Ah, yes, so because American companies abuse immigration policies and (in theory) get away with it, everyone should be so allowed. How many wrongs make a right again? I forget.

human traffickers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679541)

I don't see any difference between a company bringing over an Indan to the States and paying them the Indian wage on their contract, and people who take Guatamalan 12 year olds and sell them into prostitution.

As someone who dealt with Infosys' "deliverables" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39679585)

I can pretty confidently say any death threats can be outright ignored, as to threaten death would imply the ability to logically plan the act and then execute it properly.

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