Credit: Matt Smith / CIR

The Center for Investigative Reporting has won a national award for “Techsploitation,” an investigative series that explored how unscrupulous labor brokers exploit workers on temporary visas.

The awards were presented by the South Asian Journalists Association, which is based at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.

CIR’s investigation into America’s temporary visa program for high-skilled workers won for outstanding business story. Matt Smith, Jennifer Gollan and Adithya Sambamurthy revealed how Indian technology workers on temporary visas are trapped by nightmare contracts in the U.S. that trigger hefty penalties and crippling lawsuits if they quit.

The investigation was followed by decisive action. Within three weeks, President Obama issued an executive order on immigration, including provisions making it easier for work visa holders to change jobs and for whistleblowers to seek protection. The departments of Labor, Justice and Homeland Security created a working group to shore up enforcement. In addition, Obama’s executive order allowed some visa holders to transfer their applications for permanent resident cards from one job to another, instead of requiring them to restart the process.

Jennifer Gollan

Jennifer Gollan is a reporter for Reveal, covering labor and corporate accountability.

An Emmy Award winner, Gollan has reported on topics ranging from oil companies that dodge accountability for workers’ deaths to lax manufacturing practices that contributed to deadly tire blowouts.

Gollan uncovered rampant exploitation and abuse of caregivers in the burgeoning elder care-home industry. The series, Caregivers and Takers, detailed how operators enriched themselves while paying workers about $2 an hour to work around the clock. The stories prompted a congressional hearing, plans for prosecutions and new state legislation. 

Gollan exposed how Navy shipbuilders received billions in public money even after their workers were killed or injured. In response to her reporting, Congress passed a new federal law, the Government Accountability Office produced a report and the Pentagon began scrutinizing the safety records of more defense contractors.

Gollan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Guardian U.S., Politico Magazine and PBS NewsHour.

Her honors include a national Emmy Award, a Hillman Prize for web journalism, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards, a National Headliner Award, a Gracie Award and two Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing Awards. She has been a finalist for an ONA Online Journalism Award, an IRE Award and two Gerald Loeb Awards. Gollan is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.