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US Judge dismisses Infosys harassment case

Associated Press Modified: August 21, 2012 at 6:31 am •  Published: August 21, 2012

MUMBAI, India (AP) — An Alabama judge has dismissed a whistleblower harassment case against Indian outsourcing giant Infosys Technologies despite ongoing investigations of alleged U.S. visa fraud that arose from the complaint.

Infosys consultant Jack Palmer claimed he was harassed after calling attention to what he believed was systemic U.S. visa fraud at Infosys. Palmer alleged that Infosys misused short-term work visas —which are cheaper and easier to get than long-term work visas — to send Indian employees to the United States for permanent work.

Infosys denies the charges of visa fraud and welcomed Monday's judgment in the Palmer case, which was filed in 2011.

"We are extremely pleased to consider this matter officially closed," Infosys chief executive S.D. Shibulal said Tuesday. "This is a reaffirmation of our position that we did not retaliate and our view that this is a company which is built on core values."

He said that, for now, Palmer remains an employee.

The judgment does not address the allegations of visa fraud, which are being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and a federal grand jury, only the allegation by Palmer that he was harassed.

In his ruling on the Palmer case, Judge Myron Thompson said threatening phone calls and anti-American statements directed at Palmer were "deeply disturbing," but did not rise to the level of harassment as defined by Alabama state law. For Palmer to have won his suit, the harassment would have had to be "so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency," the judge wrote.

Palmer said he received threatening calls, along the lines of, "Why are you doing this, you stupid American, we have been good to you," according to the judgment.

In February 2011, Palmer found a note in ungrammatical English on his computer keyboard that read, according to the judgment: "Jack: Just leave your not wanted here hope your journey brings you death stupid American."

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