August 09, 2012, 1:30 PM — The Indian offshoring giant Infosys ran a "full-throated campaign of retaliation" against employees to deter them from cooperating with federal authorities investigating visa fraud, according to a new lawsuit.
This allegation is made in court papers by a former Infosys employee, Satya Dev Tripuraneni, who claims he was punished after raising concerns about the company's visa practices. He later met with a federal agent and filed a whistleblower complaint with federal authorities.
If Tripuraneni's complaint sounds familiar, it should. This is the second lawsuit filed against Infosys by an employee claiming he was harassed after raising concerns about the company's visa practices.
Jay Palmer, an Infosys employee, filed a lawsuit last year alleging harassment, including threats, after he refused to help the company get B-1 visas, a business visitor visa, for work requiring an H-1B work visa.
Palmer's allegation drew the attention of federal investigators. The government doesn't comment on investigations, but Infosys said in an SEC filing in April that it was a target of a federal probe over its use of visas.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has raised the Palmer case in Congress as part of his effort to get tougher restrictions on the H-1B visa. He took note of the Tripuraneni case as well in a letter released on Wednesday.
Grassley, in his letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, asked for information about government's investigation into visa fraud, as well as the two lawsuits against Infosys.
Tripuraneni's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in California, makes new allegations about the company's visa practices.
Tripuraneni was an account manager at Infosys and, according to the lawsuit, had been cited for "exemplary performance."
But last year, Tripuraneni claims he was asked to bring "a client into confidence to allow an Infosys resource (an employee) to come to the United States and work on a B-1 visa."
In the lawsuit, Tripuraneni said he was "asked to persuade the client to agree not to bill a person on site, but rather to bill for dummy resources outside the United States who were not involved in the client's business."