Infy gets breather from US judge in Palmer case

Infy gets breather from US judge in Palmer case

Finally Infosys might breathe easy. The company has won the case filed by employee Jack Palmer in the United States after Judge Myron Thompson dismissed all of Palmer’s claims including his allegation of retaliation by Infosys after he had reported alleged B-1 visa frauds by the company.

Dismissing Palmer’s claims, Judge Thompson said that because Palmer’s claims arise out of his employment, it is important to keep in mind that Alabama is an ‘at will’ employment state.

Palmer in his petition filed in February 2011 had sued Infosys on six counts of breach of contract; outrage; negligence and wantonness; negligent hiring, training, monitoring and supervising; and fraudulent misrepresentation.

 “The Alabama Supreme Court has explained that the bedrock principle of Alabama employment law is that, in the absence of a contract providing otherwise, employment in this state is at-will, terminable at the will of either party. Under this doctrine, an employee may be discharged for any reason, good or bad or even for no reason at all,” Thompson added.

The employee had also alleged “negligence and wantonness” on the part of Infosys. Dismissing even this, the court said that “Palmer is attempting to bootstrap a whistleblower retaliation claim into a negligence or wantonness tort” and “there is no evidence that Alabama tort law recognises an independent cause of action for negligently or wantonly failing to prevent whistleblower retaliation.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Infosys said, “Today’s decision confirms what we have been saying from the beginning: Palmer’s claims of retaliation were completely unfounded. We are pleased to consider this matter officially closed.”

However, the court said that the alleged electronic and telephonic threats are ‘deeply troubling’.

This apart, in a petition filed with the District Court for the Northern District of California
on August 2, 2012, ex-employee Satya Dev Tripuraneni claimed that after his complaint to the US Department of Homeland Security alleging that the company was illegally using B1 visas to bring Indian employees for onsite work, his supervisor took away 80 per cent of his portfolio and gave him unwarranted negative evaluations.

Tripuraneni, a resident of Contra Costa County, California, had joined Infosys in Fremont, California, around March 26, 2007 as an accounts manager and left the company on March 6, 2012.

When asked about the Department of Homeland Security probe on alleged errors in filling Form I-9 and also on the recent lawsuit by Tripuraneni, Infosys CEO S D Shibulal said that there are no updates to share.

“While Palmer and I are obviously disappointed in the results, we certainly respect Judge Thompson’s decision,” Palmer’s attorney Kenneth J Mendelsohn told agencies.
After the judgement, Infosys stocks at BSE rose by 3.74 per cent to the day’s high at Rs 2,439 per scrip and ended Rs 2,407 per scrip at the end of day’s trade.

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