Implications of Lying on a CV

Monday 11th January 2010

images_145As the demand for quality employees increases and with a growing number of people seeking work it is vital that employers are able to identify CV's that have been embellished. Employees are under great pressure to stand out from the crowd and often this is achieved by 'extending the truth' or creating a 'little white lie' in order to get a foot in the door. However, whilst claiming 'salesperson of the year award' or 'fluency in Japanese' can give prospective employees the upper hand in securing an interview, there are legal implications. In addition, recruiting someone who has an embellished CV can have damaging effects on business.

Lisa Clark, Solicitor at Marsden Rawsthorn and specialist in Employment Law believes there are steps businesses can take to protect themselves and warns employees and employers of the potential repercussions when an employee secures a job under false pretences.

Lisa comments "It really depends on the seriousness of the embellishment. For example, obtaining a job under false pretences, that incorporates responsibility for the health and welfare of others, such as a medical professional or carer, could result in significantly more damaging repercussions, such as a claim for negligence, than a marketing professional exaggerating their achievements. In addition, the relevance of the embellishment to the job applied for is likely to be a factor taken into account by an employer when considering any action that may be taken against the employee.

Health and public sector organisations in particular are at risk of being prosecuted if found guilty of employing a staff member without having followed the correct procedures in certain areas such as security clearance (CRB checks). In addition, both private and public sector organisations have a duty to comply with immigration law in respect of checking work permits for foreign applicants to avoid prosecution.

Furthermore, a company may suffer financially if it employs an employee who does not have the relevant qualifications or experience which he or she claims to have. Consider for a moment, someone accepts a job with responsibility to manage the employers accounts and they had extended the truth in terms of their ability. This could actually lead to financial errors, costing the business money. The employer may terminate the employee’s service on the grounds of capability and/or breach of contract. In addition, although rare, the employer may pursue the employee for losses it has suffered arising out of the employee’s misrepresentation which it relied on in entering into the employment contract.

Also, hiring someone based on their interview and stated ability and then discovering they are not up to the job can also cost a business. Recruitment and training take up a significant amount of time which could prove costly if the candidate employed is unsuitable for the job in question."

She added: "When taking on a new member of staff, be extra vigilant in checking everything from past job references to qualification certificates. Employers can make job offers conditional upon receiving the relevant certificates, security checks, viable employer references etc."

Employees themselves have a legal responsibility when knowingly accepting a job offer under false pretences. Research published by The Risk Advisory Group (TRAG) found that 65% of CV’s contained false information. Lisa commented: "Fabricating experience in certain areas could give an advantage over other candidates for a position, but there is a substantive difference between elaborating skills base and obtaining a pecuniary advantage through deception."

In summary, a small glorification on a CV may not be seen as a criminal offence, but once an employee begins to obtain money under false pretences it may well be deemed as fraud or deception and in most cases results in termination of employment.

Conversely, to take the risk out of employment, employers need to be mindful when relying upon CV's, for further information they are advised to seek legal advice.

If you have any employment concerns please call Marsden Rawsthorn employment team on 0800 294 4410 or email employment@marsdenrawsthorn.com.

Author: Administrator

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