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Can you fire an employee for lying on their resume?

May 14, 2023 | Employment litigation

An organization is as good as the people who work in it. It’s on this account that employers burn the midnight oil to search for recruit the right talent. And this costs time, effort and money.

So you put in the effort, screened through tens of applicants and landed the perfect employee. Perfect news, right? Unfortunately, your accomplishment is short-lived, because you have just learned that this individual stretched the truth on their resume. What happens next?

First thing first, is lying on a resume illegal?

It is not uncommon for an applicant to put their best foot forward when applying for a job. And while it is technically not illegal to lie on the resume since it is not a legal document, doing so can attract a range of legal consequences. In fact, an employee who lies to secure a federal job would be charged with fraud, especially if they gained security clearance or obtained money as a result. Additionally, falsifying academic qualifications is considered document forgery and a conviction can carry serious legal consequences.

So can lying on a resume lead to dismissal?

Basically, lying to get a job tells a lot about the employee’s character and trustworthiness. As such, lying can be sufficient grounds for terminating the employment contract. To do so, however, you need to prove that the false information they provided was a contributing factor in their recruitment.

The situation becomes even more serious when the lie in question exposes the organization to the risk of financial loss or prosecution or punishment for non-compliance with industry regulations. For instance, a hospital that knowingly retains an unqualified doctor may be held negligent were they to cause injury to a patient.

Safeguarding your interests

Lying on a resume is a terrible abuse of trust. Learning more about California labor laws can help you safeguard your organization’s rights and interests while dismissing an employee on grounds of deception.