Handling a situation where an employee has been dishonest about their professional experience

Peter Done: Managing Director and Founder

September 28 2015

RS Writes: I have recently employed an individual who stated that they have a wealth of experience in my company’s sector, however after checking up on their references they have overinflated and in some instances lied about their experience. What can I do to handle this situation? It is, arguably, human nature for people to embellish their CV with white lies to make them seem more appealing to a potential employer in a bid to get them the job. Exaggerations about ballroom dancing trophies or a skydiving hobby may not create too much of a problem, however, some lies may be significant enough to require some action. There is no requirement for you to take action unless a duty exists whereby employees must have a certain level of experience before they may legally perform the job. If not, and after considering the circumstances you may decide that, although the employee has lied to you, their behaviour does not warrant serious sanction and you would continue to employ them. In this case, it is advisable for you to inform the employee that you know of their true situation and if any further instances of lying arise, you will be forced to take action. If you decide that the employee’s behaviour means that you no longer find it possible to employ them, then you can take action at this stage. If you felt that the employee was simply unsuitable for the role without the required experience, then you should inform the employee of this and undertake a dismissal procedure. This can be carried out quite quickly because of the employee’s short service meaning that they do not qualify to make a claim for unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal. If they have been working with you for at least a month, they will be entitled by law to a notice period of one week but you should look at their contractual circumstances to ascertain if they are entitled to a longer notice period. If the contract allows for you to pay in lieu of notice then you could remove the employee from your organisation immediately. However, if you can reasonably believe that the employee’s behaviour constitutes lying, then you could argue that he has destroyed the employee-employer relationship to an extend that it is not recoverable meaning that he had committed an act of gross misconduct, meaning you could summarily dismiss with no notice pay.

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