Job applicants lying on their application or on their CV

It is not uncommon for individuals applying for certain jobs to lie on their job application or curriculum vitae (CV).

It is currently estimated that at least one in four job applications contain some form of lie or false information.

Why do people provide false information on a job application or CV?

Currently within the United Kingdom the job market is becoming increasingly stagnated. Following from the start of the economic downturn the amount of redundancies and the rate of unemployment is especially high. The number of jobs on offer is also extremely low as companies are reluctant to take on the added expense of employing new staff.

Consequently it is extremely difficult to be successful in gaining a new job meaning that individuals will do anything to get ahead in the interview process, including providing false information on their applications and CV’s.

Some of this false information may be concerning previous roles in other jobs simply to bring a bit more importance to a previous job. However, some false information can be extremely serious.

Is it legal for my employer to dismiss me due to false information being provided on my job application or CV?

An employer has a legal right to fire an employee for lying on a job application or CV. The employer will have hired that person on the back of that information as well as having entered into a contract with that employee based on that information.

If some of the facts provided in the job application or the CV from that individual happen not to be true then the employee will have misrepresented themselves to the employer. Accordingly the contract will be considered invalid.

What must an employer do to be able to dismiss an employee on the grounds of false information being provided on an application or CV?

If an employee has lied on a job application or their CV, the employer must be able to prove in court that the false information that they provided was a contributing factor in the employee being provided with the job.

This will occur if the information provided by the employee to prove that they have the capabilities of performing the tasks of that job was in fact false information. If the employer can prove that they would not have hired that person without that specific bit of information then they will be able to prove that they have come to a fair decision in dismissing that employee.

Are there any other legal issues which I should be aware of if I have lied on my job application or CV?

An employer may be able to dismiss an employee upon finding false information on a job application or a CV and they may also be able to act in a way which was otherwise unlawful without the employee having any claim.

For example if an employer were to dismiss an employee unfairly on grounds of religion or another non-work related personal factor then that employee may have grounds for an unfair dismissal claim. However, it may be held that they have relinquished this right if the job was gained on the basis of false information being provided on a job application or CV.

However, this will depend upon the particular circumstances of the case and will not be able to be used as a defence by an employer in all situations.

What should I do if I have been dismissed unfairly but I have provided false information on my job application or CV?

If an individual has been dismissed in a fashion which they think is unfair, but they have also lied on either their job application or CV the best course of practice would be to get in touch with a specialist solicitor who will be able to provide them with details as to whether they can bring a successful claim for unfair dismissal.

If I have lied on my job application can I be sued for damages?

If an employee has provided false information on a job application or on a CV which has enabled them to gain the job in certain circumstances they may be liable to pay the employer in damages.

In order for this to happen the employer will have had to suffer losses.

Is this a situation which has occurred recently?

This is a situation which has come into play during 2009 and involved false information provided on a job application in relation to the medical history of the employee.

What happened in this case?

In this case an employee who had suffered with serious periods of depression provided false information on her job application stating that she was in good health and that she did not suffer from any kind of disability. She was provided with the role of managing director for a local council.

Once in the job the employee was only present for a total of 50% of the time. This caused substantial losses to the council in relation to the costs in covering her while she was absent and amounts paid out under her ill-health pension entitlement.

Was the employer able to claim damages successfully?

The employer was able to bring a successful claim for damages against the employee.

On what ground was this claim brought?

The claim was brought on the grounds of fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation and deceit in the fact that the previous periods of depression experienced by the employee were not mentioned on the job application.