Whistleblower Jack “Jay” Palmer has sued his former employer, Infosys, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The complaint alleges that Infosys, an Indian company which operates in the United States, retaliated against Mr. Palmer because he blew the whistle on the company’s alleged widespread abuse of the B-1 visa system.
B-1 visas are issued to foreign nationals who wish to enter the U.S. temporarily for business purposes, such as consulting with business associates, attending conventions, negotiating contracts, or receiving training. Mr. Palmer alleged that Infosys abused this system by having B-1 visa holders perform actual work while they were here, including programming and coding. The complaint alleges that Infosys paid $34 million to the U.S. Government “as part of the largest visa fraud case in American history.” Mr. Palmer alleges that, after he blew the whistle on the visa fraud scheme, Infosys blacklisted him, put him on leave, denied him work, denied him promotions and bonuses, demanded his resignation and denied him re-hire.
A similar case brought by Mr. Palmer in Alabama several years ago, under a different legal theory, was dismissed because the court found that Alabama does not have a whistleblower law which applied to Mr. Palmer’s situation. The present lawsuit is being brought pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley act and the False Claims Act.
If a company violates visa laws, it not only hurts American workers — who are replaced with cheaper non-immigrant workers — but competing businesses who adhere to the law and thus incur greater labor costs. Whistleblowers like Mr. Palmer are absolutely essential in bringing unlawful visa practices to light. If you are working at a company which is violating visa laws, please speak to an experienced employment attorney about your legal rights and options before coming forward as a whistleblower. You may be able to “do the right thing” and still be able to work in the career of your choice.