Whistle While You Work

The India-based technology outsourcing giant Infosys recently agreed to pay the U.S. government $34 million in a record civil settlement for what prosecutors called “systemic visa fraud and abuse.” The company, while admitting nothing, was accused of bringing temporary workers from India into the U.S. to fill jobs here illegally, using mere business visitor visas. Those are cheaper and far easier to obtain than the longer-term employment visas the law requires. Companies that get away with such practices can pay the prevailing local low wage, undercutting competitors and keeping U.S. citizens out of jobs.

Infosys’ alleged abuses were undone by one man: Jack Palmer, an American employee of Infosys in Alabama. Punished, harassed and sidelined by Infosys executives after he quietly complained through internal channels that he had witnessed widespread visa fraud, Palmer filed a whistle-blower lawsuit.

Whistle-blower protections aren’t available in every Western country. Thankfully, the U.S. justice system is often well-equipped to defend ordinary citizens from powerful interests who use that power to perpetuate wrongdoing and silence their truth-telling critics.

And what will Palmer get as a reward for his bravery, isolation and months of self-doubt over his decision to make Infosys abide by the law? People familiar with the case have told the media that he could receive as much as $5 million from the Infosys settlement. That, too, is justice.

Posted: 12/6/2013 12:00:00 AM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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