If you haven’t watched the film ‘Catch Me If You Can,’ it’s based on the true story of conman Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), who successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of cheques while posing as a pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor.
Senior Employment Relations Adviser, Alexandra Woods from workplace specialist company Employsure says, “While few people go to such extreme lengths to earn a living, the competitive nature of the job market leads some candidates to exaggerate elements of their CV to give themselves an edge, adding qualifications and experience they don’t have.”
In a recent case between Tham v Hertz Australia in the Fair Work Commission, Mr Tham was dismissed for engaging in misconduct by providing false and misleading information to Hertz during the recruitment process. Senior management felt he intentionally misrepresented his employment background;therefore, he had breached any trust and confidence they had in his ability to perform his role with honesty and integrity.
According to Tham, after making his application for employment to Hertz he realised that the resume he had submitted contained a “mistake” as he kept a number of versions of his resume on his computer and contended that he accidentally attached a version that contained the error. However, there was no evidence to show he had made any effort to notify his employer of the “mistake.”
The employee intentionally lied on his resume and subsequently, the FWC ruled the dismissal was fair.
So, what do you do if you hire someone but then find out they lied?
According to Woods, “It depends on how big the lie was, how quickly it was discovered, and how much it impacts the business or customers. The best way to avoid this, is to check a candidate’s qualifications before they are hired.Ask for copies of certificates and get contact details of previous employers.”
As stated by the law, you cannot dismiss any employee without a valid, sound, and defensible reason. These reasons are varied and come under four key areas. Read more about the reasons for dismissal.
Let’s say you find out an employee worked at a previous company for two years and nine months and not three years. It’s probably okay to look past that says Woods, “however, if the candidate never even worked at the previous company, or never set foot inside a university, this is a serious breach of trust between you and your employee. You’d be within your rights as an employer to start the process of termination. However, it is important to follow the correct process.”
Lying about qualifications is especially serious in industries like healthcare, engineering and construction. “When an employee in one of these sectors claims to have the appropriate qualifications, and it turns out they don’t, they could be putting people’s lives at serious risk.”
Get expert advice before you do anything.
Approximately 127 unfair dismissal claims are made against an employer every day, with employers losing 60% of the time. This explainer video gives employers a brief overview of the complex legislation behind employee dismissals. It outlines valid reasons that employers can use to terminate their employees and the procedure to follow.
Managing employee performance and termination is often a challenge for employers, and unfair dismissal claims can have serious consequences. Download this free e-guide for step by step guidance on how to manage the complex process.
If you do decide to dismiss, a word of warning: “the longer your employee has been working for you, the harder it will be to justify the dismissal as fair,” she said.
Get immediate advice from external and impartial experts such as Employsure to help you navigate through the process or discuss your options. Call 1300 651 415 to book a free consultation.