Feds want employee's laptop in B-1 visa case

Infosys case is moved from state to federal court; outsourcer seeks arbitration instead of jury trial

A lawsuit filed by an Infosys Technologies employee who refused to help the India-based company bring in B-1 visa holders is drawing attention from federal investigators, according to his attorney.

The attorney, Kenneth Mendelsohn of Montgomery, Ala., said federal investigators are seeking the work laptop used by the employee, Jack Palmer, who claims he was harassed and threatened after he declined to assist the company in getting B-1 business visas for employees he believed required an H-1B visa.

The B-1 visa is limited to short-term projects, such as meetings and consulting with associates, and unlike the h-1B visa , doesn t include prevailing wage requirements and some other provisions.

The case was originally filed in Lowndes County Circuit Court in Alabama, Palmer's home state. Infosys, subsequently, had the case moved to federal court, and last week filed a motion to take the case to arbitration instead of a jury trial.

Mendelsohn said Palmer is cooperating with federal authorities, which he declined to identify.

Mendelsohn says Infosys also wants Palmer's work laptop and threatened to fire Palmer if he didn't turn it over. Palmer, a consultant for Infosys since 2008, was given a new laptop by the company.

Infosys has demanded the laptop with full knowledge that the federal investigators want it, said Palmer. ITBusinessEdge first reported this development.

Mendelsohn expects the laptop will be turned over to federal authorities "sooner rather than later," pending arrival of legal papers for it.

Mendelsohn said the federal request for the laptop trump's Infosys demand for it.

When you have a choice about who to follow, you go with the guys with the guns and the badges, said Mendelsohn, and I think that is the right thing to do.

In its motion to compel arbitration, Infosys cited an agreement that Palmer signed, which included submitting to binding arbitration for any and all controversies, claims or disputes relating to his employment.

Mendelsohn said he plans to object to arbitration so it remains in court and subject to a public hearing "as opposed to a conference room somewhere."

On the issue of arbitration generally, Paul Lopez, a labor and employment attorney with the law firm Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said the main reason that employees are asked to sign arbitration agreements is a fear by their employers that a jury trial could deliver a runaway verdict based more on emotion than fact.

"In employment law disputes, the employee is always viewed as the David to the company's Goliath, so companies are concerned about the dynamic in a courtroom," said Lopez.

Arbitration agreements are widely used by employers, and their use has been upheld by courts, said Lopez. The downside for employers is that arbitration cases are also "very, very difficult to appeal and overturn," he said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov , or subscribe to Patrick s RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com .

Read more about gov't legislation/regulation in Computerworld's Gov't Legislation/Regulation Topic Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Gov't Legislation/RegulationInfosys TechnologiesregulationcareersIT managementgovernmentGov't LegislationGovernment/IndustriesPalm

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?