rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Business » Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Last updated on: August 21, 2012 09:25 IST

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

     Next

Next
George Joseph in New York

Federal Judge Myron H Thompson in Alabama summarily dismissed the lawsuit filed against Infosys by whistleblower employee Jack Palmer, without going for a trial. The judge also ordered Palmer to pay Infosys' legal fees.

The suit, alleging misuse of US visas by Infosys was scheduled for trial on August 20. But before the trail began, the judge threw out the case. In a two page decision the court ordered, 'Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

Judgment was entered in favour of defendants against plaintiff jack "jay" Palmer, Jr., with plaintiff Palmer taking nothing by his complaint.

'It is further ordered that all other pending motions are denied as moot and all pending objections are overruled as moot...'

The judge ruled that that Palmer failed to prove his claims against Infosys -- including breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, under Alabama state law and therefore had no right to recover damages.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Palmer claimed that he was harassed and threatened after he pointed out the misuse of business visas to bring people to the US for employment, which is illegal.

The judge noted that as an at-will employment, 'absent a contract providing otherwise, [an] employee may be demoted, denied a promotion, or otherwise adversely treated for any reason, good or bad, or even for no reason at all.'

Palmer's attorney Kenny Mendelsohn said, "Today Federal Judge Myron Thompson dismissed Jay Palmer's claims against Infosys. While Palmer and I obviously are disappointed in the results, we certainly respect Judge Thompson's decision."

'It is important for the public to understand that Judge Thompson did not condone Infosys' conduct. He merely concluded that "under current Alabama law, Palmer has no right to recover from Infosys."

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Judge Thompson even stated that "an argument could be made that such threats against whistleblowers, in particular, should be illegal. The issue before the court, however, is not whether Alabama should make these alleged wrongs actionable, but whether they are, in fact, illegal under state law. This court cannot rewrite state law."

"Most importantly, this decision will have no effect on the ongoing criminal investigations or other claims or charges against Infosys," Mendelsohn said.

Earlier this month, Satya Dev Tripuraneni, a US citizen, filed a similar suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against Infosys, which also claims harassment. Infosys denied the allegations in that case also.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Infosys welcomed the court decision. In a statement Danielle D'Angelo, a spokesperson of Infosys US, said, "Today's decision confirms what we have been saying from the beginning- Palmer's claims of retaliation were completely unfounded. This is a company built on core values that include leadership by example, integrity and transparency. Those values always have and will continue to shape the way we do business with our clients and, without exception, the way we treat our people. We are pleased to consider this matter officially closed."

The case was thrown out mostly based on technicalities, according the media reports.

In court proceedings, judge Thompson said that some of claims brought by Palmer against Infosys aren't covered by a state law, according to Computer world. "Without question, the alleged electronic and telephonic threats are deeply troubling. Indeed, an argument could be made that such threats against whistleblowers, in particular, should be illegal," the judge said.

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"This court must conclude that, under current Alabama law, Palmer has no right to recover from Infosys," the judge wrote.

"If a citizen of one state sues a citizen of another, the defendant has a right to move the case to federal court which is what Infosys did here. State law still governs," Mendelsohn clarified for rediff.com.

Palmer still continues to serve as an employee of Infosys, though he is not given work for many months. His continued employment also affected the judge's decision. Mendelsohn said he and Palmer were also honoured that the judge acknowledged the wrongful conduct of Infosys and that this is just simply a matter that Alabama law does not allow a claim when the person is still working for the company.'

Click NEXT to read more...


Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

At a July 3 pretrial hearing, Infosys completely denied any harassment or retaliation whatsoever had taken place against Palmer. Palmer admitted that he has received bonuses throughout his employment with Infosys, and that he is currently making more money than he has ever made in his life.

Palmer worked as a 'Principal – Enterprise Solutions' since August 2008 for Infosys. The suit filed at the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama sought past amounts owed to him, compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit cited Infosys, unnamed members of the board of directors in 2003 and 2010, the Whistleblower Team from 2010 and unnamed others whose wrongful conduct caused injuries to him, as defendants.

Infosys, with headquarters in Bangalore and principal office in Fremont California, employs more than 15,000 foreign workers in the United States, the suit noted.

Click NEXT to read more...


Image: Infosys campus
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Many of them come to the US and work on the H-1B visa. Once the Federal Government put increased restrictions and limitations in 2009 on the number of H1-B visas the company began to bring people on B1 visa to work, which is illegal, the suit alleged.

The B1 visa is usually for visitors who are prohibited to work. "In order for a foreign Infosys employee to obtain a B-1visa, an American employee of Infosys had to write a 'welcome letter,' basically stating that the employee was coming to the United States for meetings rather than to work at a job."

Palmer was asked to write the welcome letters, which he refused, which started the problems. He complained internally, but with no positive outcome.

Palmer's suit prompted federal prosecutors in Plano, Texas, where the company has offices, to open investigations against the company.

Click NEXT to read more...


Image: Infosys campus
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

Prev     Next

Infosys wins case against a whistleblower employee

Prev     More
Prev

More

Tripuraneni's case echoes the allegations of Palmer, who questioned the use of business visa by the company for which he was retaliated, according to his lawsuit.

Tripuraneni was a successful accounts manager at a California office of Infosys until he realised that Infosys was involving its clients in immigration fraud, and spoke out against it, according to the suit.


Image: Infosys campus
Photographs: Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons

Prev     More