What Does It Take For Justice?

workplace death threatImagine returning to your office to see a note taped to your chair which reads:

Just leave, you are not wanted here, hope your journey brings you death.

Imagine coming into work and turning on your computer. The screen lights up with an open Word document, which says:

Burn in your hell and death to you and the family. Infosys rules the world.

That has been the life of Jay Palmer and today an Alabama judge ruled the above threats are not unreasonable in the workplace. Literally the Judge ruled that death threats are not out of bounds in Alabama employment law. The judge claims the threats were not so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.. So, under employment law is murder now perfectly legal? What does it take here to get justice for U.S. workers?

ComputerWorld has been covering the case and sums up what happened.

In his lawsuit, Palmer claimed he was harassed at work, sidelined and even received death threats for refusing to participate in an alleged Infosys scheme to use workers on business visitor, or B-1 visas, for tasks that required an H-1B work visa.

In today's ruling, Thompson said that some of claims brought by Palmer against Infosys aren't covered by a state law.

"Without question, the alleged electronic and telephonic threats are deeply troubling," wrote Thompson. "Indeed, an argument could be made that such threats against whistleblowers, in particular, should be illegal."

But Thompson wrote that "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."

Consequently, "this court must conclude that, under current Alabama law, Palmer has no right to recover from Infosys," wrote Thompson.

Palmer's attorney, Kenneth Mendelsohn, said they are "disappointed that the judge threw it out," but added that he and Palmer "were also honored that he 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."

It's well documented Indian body shops use H-1B foreign guest worker Visas and do not hire Americans. Study after study has shown this to be the case. Yet when a lone U.S. tech worker gets some guts to stand up and try to do something, a judge throws out his case. Unbelievable, the Alabama judge claims Infosys didn't break any laws and it seems, in Alabama at least, companies can get away with almost anything.

Fairly incredible lack of justice, on a technicality to boot. Alabama state law sure is convenient when it comes to employee civil suits and that was the technicality, Alabama state law somehow supersedes Federal in employment law cases.

The judge noted that Alabama is an “at-will” employment state, meaning that “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.” He did not dispute that Mr. Palmer had received at least five “worrisome” threats after he first reported his concerns through internal whistle-blower channels.

But Judge Thompson found that the impact on Mr. Palmer of the threats, and of being denied bonuses and work assignments, was not “so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it,” as Alabama law requires.

Palmer was the whistleblower on the illegal use of short stay , B-1 Visas to bring over foreigners to work for Infosys in the United States. The B-1 Visa is supposed to be for professional conferences, fast consultation and training. It is not legal to work on these Visas in the United States.

One company is being accused of bringing those lower-paid workers to the U.S. illegally and that may be costing Americans jobs.

The allegations are the subject of a federal probe and CBS News has been investigating this story for months. The allegations have been made against a giant Indian information technology firm called Infosys. The charges are coming from inside the company, from an employee who has never spoken publicly before.

Jay Palmer is a principal consultant at the company called Infosys. He is also the whistleblower whose charges sparked the federal investigation. Palmer says Infosys, the global high-tech giant, engaged in a systematic practice of visa fraud, a charge the company denies.

There is another suit by an Infosys employee, this one in California. California is also an at-will state.

Another whistle-blower lawsuit against Infosys was filed this month in California by Satya Dev Tripuraneni, who claimed he quit his job after harassment following his reports of visa abuse.

There also is a Federal criminal investigation going on against Infosys for illegally using guest worker Visas. IT Business Edge quoted anonymous sources on Infosys brazen abuse of the U.S. immigration system:

The former Infosys manager from India who detailed systematic discrimination against American college recruits has provided a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the institutionalized nature of the B-1 visa fraud and deceptive practices documented by Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer.

The former manager, who is speaking to me on condition of anonymity, was employed by Infosys from 2000 to 2010, and worked in the United States on an H-1B visa for six years (see yesterday's post, "Former Infosys Manager from India Cites Discrimination Against Americans"). He corroborated information that Palmer and his attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, have turned over to federal authorities conducting the criminal investigation of Infosys, including information about the manner in which Infosys briefs B-1 visa holders on how to deceive U.S. immigration officials:

Back in Bangalore they have an elaborate immigration department-obviously they have a lot of people traveling, the majority of whom travel to the United States. I would say the number of B-1 visas that they use is probably a substantial number, but not a large percentage compared to H-1s and L-1s. What they do for people who are traveling on B-1 visas, in Bangalore and other Infosys offices in India, they would have a briefing session where they would basically tell you very clearly that a B-1 visa is only intended for sales professionals to attend meetings and things like that, and you can't actually be working. So what you need to do when you reach the United States is you need to lie to the official at the airport about the purpose of your visit. You can't tell them that you're there to work or to do any kind of programming or anything like that. They even advise you not to take any kind of programming books in your bags, just in case you're searched. You can't tell them you're there for a sales meeting when your bag is packed with six books on Java.

The former manager said there are plenty of Infosys employees in India who are willing to come to the United States on a B-1 visa to work, even though they're fully aware it's illegal to do so. The lure, he said, is simple. It's all about the money:

Most people back in India would do absolutely anything to come to the United States, just for the money. People at that level have two options. Option A is you are given $145 a day. For the first $100 you would have to produce receipts, but you wouldn't have to produce receipts for the remaining $45. Option B is $90 a day, no questions asked, no receipts required. And during that time, they continue to draw whatever salary they were getting in India. If a junior analyst or programmer gets the opportunity to be in the United States for three months, and takes Option B, that's $90 a day for 90 days, or $8,100. That's an interesting amount of money for these guys. Infosys doesn't have to force people in India to come to the United States. They have more people than they need who would come to the United States, who would do that-that's a good amount of money.

This administration's track record on immigration law enforcement is fairly non-existent, including issues like the above which are clearly discrimination against U.S. workers and arbitrage. Still the most outrageous result of Jay Palmer's courageous effort is the implication that death threats to current and former employees are perfectly acceptable.

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Comments

Infosys

Great story how the 1% abuse the system - here the labor market whether via outsourcing or visa fraud.

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India BPO industry dep. on guest worker Visas

The India BPO industry's entire business model is labor arbitrage. But what it has created is clear discrimination against U.S. citizen workers in their own country and absolutely nothing gets done.

This is one of the reasons we see all of those "fake news" article plants claiming worker shortgage, the demands of Indian BPO industry.

That aside, and this isn't the only case thrown out where one is just outraged, how can death threats be ruled as a normal part of being an employee?

In other words, people try to get justice and cases keep getting dismissed. Remember the Walmart equal pay case? The list goes on and on.

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EP, how much longer do you think social fabric can stay intact?

I'm just wondering how long really can this go on for? The continued destruction of middle class through destruction of jobs for American citizens (through outsourcing and visas), the completely deaf govt. that serves only those that can buy a ticket to lobby, and the media blaming the unemployed for being unemployed and needing help of any kind (corporation takes worker's job through intervention with govt. granting visas and open borders, and corporation blames worker for needing help from govt. and demands worker take nonexistent jobs -sounds fair). Given lower tax revenues at all levels and the people with no say + power being blamed and ignored (90%+ of population) and no job creation programs other than the tried and failed "large corporations just need more profits and no laws actual people are subject to," how long could a society really last with very few jobs (especially living wage jobs) because the next election promises at least 4 more years of same?
I look at Eurozone and now they are playing with complete fire, ECB composed of Euro countries somehow going to buy Euro bonds composed of the same busted Euro countries. If that's not a global Ponzi, I don't know what is. So prediction of when it all goes wrong?

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Warning Signals of Social Revolution Flip from Yellow to Red

In 2008, I explained how American society was approaching the cusp of social revolution. The warning signals (from the 4 major modern revolutions, Britain, U.S., France and Russia) are historical and empirical, not ideology-based:

- Treason of the Intellectuals. Social Media, the Web, the blogosphere and the pundits are everyday chipping away at the shreds of authority the 1% still possesses
- Military Misadventures. "The War must continue" as Orwell ended 1984. Our wars are unconstitutional, undeclared, unpopular and never-ending
- The Enduring and Permanent Economic Crisis. In 2008 the Crisis was just worsening, now the Crisis endures forever without answers, or solutions accepted by the 1%
- Stupefying Incompetence of the Ruling Class. The unwillingness to solve or do almost anything necessary to the function of normal governing has made dysfunction permanent.

New factors have arisen since 2008 to suggest that the days of the oligarchy are numbered:

- World Wide Revolution. Spreading like prairie fire in the Third World

- The Failure of Reform and the destruction of Social Contract ( Welfare State, Safety Net etc) in the First World

- Repression of social revolution in the First World when OWS was shutdown, shut up and it's writings confiscated

All the safety valves are shut. The pressure just keeps building. Stay tuned, if you can find a station.

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Burton Leed

Even summer jobs for Americans teens are using visa scams

Remember Hershey's last summer? The company was busted for using a J-1 visa meant for foreign students to come over here and learn English and about America, but they wound up learning the words for "visa abuse," "destroying American jobs," and got a tour of a factory interior. And of course instead of asking why American teens weren't being hired by such an "all-American" company in Pennsylvania, some fools were telling the foreigners to just hunker down and stop complaining. First, if they were on student visas, fine, go learn about America and punish all those that deceived them and hire Americans(unless Hershey's simply couldn't find American workers in Pennsylvania for summer work - yeah, right). But why are corporations and the US govt. even making me know about any visas, I'm tired of having to learn about this crap and just want to be able to trust someone in power not to screw us over at every turn. J-1, H-1, O, we just want to go to school, work hard, and save a little cash.
Remember when American teens could just apply to McDonald's and get hired within a day or a week? Apply for construction jobs over the summer and earn good cash? Deliver pizzas part-time, work at pools, and beaches, and amusement parks with no hassles? It worked out for generations, taught good lessons, and helped build society. Now it's endless games, visas for foreigners, brutal application processes that teach kids to start hating the bullshit early in their lives - which is the way it is nowadays. Visas and outsourcing, I never thought I'd be so concerned about this crap when I was studying or working but they keep forcing me to care.

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OPT Visa w/ 53% of college grads can't get a job

The abuse of J-1, as you mention is another Visa abuse case but the "legit" H-2B guest worker Visa, for unskilled labor, not agriculture, is absolutely obscene. We have record unemployment for the ages of 16-19 in this country as well as people with just high school are also at record highs. There is no way we need millions of foreign guest workers imported as unskilled labor. We literally have millions of people hunting right now who need those jobs.

We're talking millions of foreign guest workers in this country.

OPT Visa is giving "practical training" to those who recently graduated from college as well as internships, co-ops and the like. That is completely obscene to use it as a foreign worker importation tool with so many, including STEM, unable to get a job. There is no excuse, the U.S. university system is considered the best in the world, yet we those with U.S. citizenship are being denied opportunity and a job.

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You wrote:

" I'm tired of having to learn about this crap and just want to be able to trust someone in power not to screw us over at every turn. J-1, H-1, O, we just want to go to school, work hard, and save a little cash."

Forewarned, forearmed, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance." ~ Frederick Douglass

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The Collapse of The PRC Mercantilist State

The collapse of the PRC has started. The two most vulnerable pillars of production (same as the U.S), real estate construction and automobiles are now producing 65 percent more than sales will allow. The State Security Bureau is fudging the statistics. Sales of both real estate and cars have basically collapsed.

Soon we will hear howls from the internationalists about why we should save China by increasing trade. This will mean accepting the shoddy, dangerous and inefficient Chinese autos.

Just watch. This happened with Japanese cars in the early 60s and will happen again with Chinese cars. Most likely, a NAFTA connection will be used to funnel the ChiCom AutoTrash onshore.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/business/global/chinas-economy-besiege...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/business/global/chinas-economy-besiege...

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Burton Leed

the reason they will claim we must save China

is because U.S. multinationals have offshore outsourced to China. It's pretty ridiculous to demand we ruin our economy to save another nations all become some MNCs offshore outsourced.

I honestly do not know the real effects on the U.S. economy if China's economy goes to 5% GDP growth instead of these 8,9% levels. It's not like U.S. MNCs are moving jobs back anytime soon, even though they should.

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We're still helping China with IMF and World Bank loans

I'm always impressed by our government's willingness to help other countries at the expense of its own citizens. Sure, China is killing us in trade and with the cooperation of "American" (incorporation only, not in loyalty) corporations, but let's help China even more with IMF loans and World Banks loans, both of which the USA is the biggest donor nation. So, if China doesn't have it easy enough, let's have American citizens directly finance the competition and the "American" corporations also. I think same goes for India.

So, this government is of us, by us, and for us? Really? Because helping out the competition when it's already killing us doesn't sound like something I'd do.
Same with the IMF helping out the Euro. I'm guessing USD could be better spent in the US, but that wouldn't help the Goldman Sachs/Eurozone stay alive for a few more months and austerity to be forced down on the populations over there with Goldman Sachs' central bankers' mandates.

China has many ethnic issues that aren't covered by the Kardashian press here but aren't so easily resolved. Also has huge corruption issues that can't be resolved because one-party rule depends on it, to say nothing of ghost cities that can be seen from space (just like the Great Wall). Sit back and watch, just keep my tax $ away from that mess, I'm tired of helping competitors. I say watch as the Chinese steal all the Apple IP and Apple stores they can and the bigshots scratch their heads and say, "Duh, who could have guessed? And can my US Government help me fight to keep Apple making billions in China - I don't care about American workers, but can the US Government protect my profits in China?" And the USG will do it.

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Official Claims Current GDP 5 Per Cent - Really Much Lower

The unofficial leaked numbers say 5% growth. Even 5% is a disaster (population growth and migration to cities). The real numbers are much lower based on anecdotal evidence. There is a piece of Soviet history that demonstrates the effect of how totalitarian regimes fudge economics and over-report activity.

When George H.W. Bush was CIA Chief, he asked the agency to give the annual Cumulative Net Assessment of the Soviet Economy. The Net Assessments for 1970 to 1975 were starting to show that the Soviet Economy was growing at 3-5% at best. When Bush saw the numbers, he created the Team B Report. Team B came up with a growth rate of 7 percent. 7% justified bigger Pentagon Budgets (and CIA).

The reason behind the Bush conspiracy was to pump up the size of the Defense Budget following Vietnam. Everybody saw a chance to shrink the Pentagon.

A review of the actual size of the Soviet economy in 1990 by the CIA revealed an economy with falling production starting in 1969 and continuing for 20 years until the collapse.

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Burton Leed

doubt China will collapse

You see China? Many parts look like America did 30 years ago. Video makes it look like we traded places, which in essence, we did. I don't think it's the same as the USSR by a long shot.

That said, 5% GDP for China is like a recession due to it's size, but I do not care, tough beanies on their structural problems, unless it negatively impacts the U.S. economy and by that I mean the U.S. middle class, production, real economy.

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If that is the case and the

If that is the case and the NYT is telling the truth (these days, as a rule of thumb, I tend to take everything the corporate media says with a grain of salt), then the joke is on those US companies who fled to China in order to cheat on taxes, wages, etc. and are part of the problem we're facing today. Of course, it would be entirely too much to ask those greed mongers to return to the US and produce their goods here.

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Elena