It has been 17 months since Jack B Palmer first made a quiet complaint through internal channels at Infosys, he works for, saying he suspected some managers were committing visa fraud. Since then, Palmer says, he 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.
But what has driven him nearly crazy, with bouts of depression alternating with rage, Palmer said, is the silence. Since last April, Palmer has been stewing day after day in his home near Montgomery, contemplating a blank Infosys screen on his computer and agonizing over whether his whistle-blowing was worth it.
"They did the worst thing they could do to someone who is used to working 80 hours a week," Palmer said. "They sit me at home and cut me off from everything. My life is floating in Infosys purgatory." A lawsuit Palmer filed in February 2011 prompted federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation that is still expanding.
Federal investigators are looking into whether the company used workers from India for certain kinds of jobs here that were not allowed under their temporary visas, known as B-1. They are also examining numerous irregularities in the company's hiring practices and documents, federal officials said.
“Any allegation or assertion that there is or was a corporate policy of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa programme is simply not accurate,” Ted Bockius, an Infosys spokesman, said Thursday. Infosys has been in discussions with the federal authorities, he said, and has complied with a subpoena they issued. He added that fewer than 2% of the company’s workers in the United States at any time are on B-1 visitor visas.
Palmer, 44, a software project manager for Infosys since August 2008, said he decided to sue the company, claiming he was punished for reporting corporate misdeeds, after executives pressured him to drop his complaints. But even as the months have crawled by, Palmer has not quit his Infosys job, fearing he will not get another one now that he is known as the guy who went up against the Indian company.
The New York Times