- Law Note - Résumé Lies
- January 8, 2010
- Law Firm: Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP - Los Angeles Office
It’s an employer’s market now with tens, even hundreds, of applicants vying for every position available. So, if you were fired for performance issues and so far are unsuccessful in finding work, and your finances are quickly depleting, what do you do?
If you tell the truth, you could very well be unemployable. So, when you finally obtain an interview, you lie, perhaps stating you resigned. You pray no reference check is conducted and the new employer doesn’t learn, through the industry, of your perfidy. They don’t. You are awarded the job with a good base salary and a bonus. You perform marvelously. Everyone wins.
That is, until someone in your former company makes a snide remark about you to someone in the new one. Your lie unravels. Your new employer doesn’t want a dishonest employee and fires you, stating, if the company had known the truth, you never would have been hired.
When you sue, the company counterclaims for your bonus, claiming it never would have offered this bonus had it known how weak your bargaining power actually was.
Maybe you just inflated your academic or other qualifications. Perhaps you inflated your previous remuneration to negotiate a higher salary. According to a Stanford University study conducted some years back, more than 90% of résumés, in some respect or another, contain false or misleading information, ranging from slight embellishment to outright fraud.
Employees beware: If you mislead an employer to obtain a position, you risk losing the job and even some of its perquisites if the employer ever learns of it, even if they were happy with you in the interim.
However, an employer cannot sit on its rights. If they learn an employee lied when he was hired, they can’t wait until they are unhappy and fire him then. Employers must act immediately or they lose their right to assert cause later.
Even if an employer learns of the lie years after the firing, before going to trial in a wrongful dismissal action, its defence can be amended to then plead cause.