When can an employee be dismissed for lying on a resume?

by John Hilton13 Aug 2018

There are multiple circumstances where dismissal is an option for an employee who is caught lying on their resume, according to Trent Sebbens, partner at Ashurst.

The first is if the employee is not able to comply with a term of the employment contract because he or she does not have the relevant qualifications or expertise.

“For example, if it was revealed that they didn’t hold a particular license or registration that they needed in order to perform the job then clearly they would not be able to continue that role and the employment could be brought to an end,” Sebbens told HRD.

He said the second scenario would involve a representation that proves to be false and amounts to dishonesty or fraud which then enables the employer to terminate for misconduct.

The third circumstance would involve a warranty breach where the individual has breached a warranty term and said they had skills or qualifications which they have been dishonest about.

Sebbens cited a high-profile case earlier this year which involved an MP resigning from WA Parliament after a Parliamentary Committee found he had made misleading statements about his police service and education history.

However, he said the sorts of cases that become public are “relatively infrequent”.

“There are a few cases that make their way into the common law courts like the Supreme Court where someone is engaged in serious fraud about their qualifications or their previous work experience,” said Sebbens.

He added that deception is usually picked up at a much earlier stage including the pre-employment checks and interviews where it turns out that what the individual has written in their resume is false when the employer tested it.

“It is unlikely that many of these sorts of matters would get to the point of an employer needing to engage in exercising their right to terminate,” said Sebbens.

“The critical tip for employers is to engage in due diligence steps so you don’t get in a situation where you need to exercise the right to bring employment to an end.”

 

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