Infosys facing discrimination, visa allegations in US

IT services giant accused of flouting US visa rules for technical staff

Tags: H-1B visaInfosys TechnologiesUSA
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Infosys facing discrimination, visa allegations in US The class action lawsuit alleges there may be thousands of possible claimants who have been discriminated against by Infosys in the US.
By  Mark Sutton Published  August 7, 2013

Indian IT services company Infosys is facing a possible class action lawsuit in the US, alleging that the company has discriminated in its hiring policies and abused US work visa programs.

A class action lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court in Eastern Wisconsin, by a US IT professional, who alleges that Infosys has demonstrated a "systematic, company-wide discrimination against individuals based on their national origin".

The lawsuit claims that Infosys is abusing the H-1B visa program, to hire foreign nationals despite qualified American staff being available.

Out of Infosys' 15,000 US employees, around 90% are foreign nationals of South Asian descent, according to a former HR employee of the company quoted in the report.

The claimant, Brenda Koehler, is a VMware specialist with 17 years industry experience, who says she interviewed for a Lead VMware/Windows Administrator job with Infosys in the US for which she was technically qualified and experienced, but was not turned down, with the vacancy being filled by a Bangladeshi instead.

The H-1B visa program, which has caused controversy in the past, is widely used by companies to bring technical staff to work in the US when there are insufficient skilled US personnel available to meet needs.

The lawsuit also alleges that Infosys is breaking the laws of the B-1 general business visa program, by bringing non-US staff into the country to carry out activities outside of the scope of the program. The B-1 business visa allows entry to the US only for a very limited number of ‘business' activities, such as holding business meetings or attending conferences and training.

Infosys has faced allegations of discrimination in the US in the past. In 2011, a US employee claimed in a failed lawsuit that he had seen another Infosys employee write "Americans cost $," and "No Americans/Christians" on a whiteboard; while in December the company settled out of court with another employee who raised concerns over visa violations.

The visa fraud allegations are still under investigation by the US Department of Justice.

Infosys has denied the allegations in a company statement which said: "Infosys is an equal-opportunity employer. We look forward to addressing this matter in court, not in public venues where facts can become mixed with rumour, opinion and speculation."

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