If someone were to make a false statement on his or her resume regarding his or her job duties or skills in past positions, there is a chance he or she would have difficulty in meeting the expectations set out in the new position. As suspicions arise from the inability to complete job duties, employers have been known to seek out more information and dig deeper into their employees' job histories. Even if this information was not discovered in the initial employment references, this doesn't mean that employers won't seek out more information at a later date, especially if an employer feels that its employee is not meeting expectations.
Once an employee has been found to have lied on his or her resume, the employer has the right to terminate the employment contract. The employee/employer relationship is one that's built upon trust. Finding out that the job was granted based on fictitious information causes this trust to be breached. It may seem like a little white lie when someone covers up the reason he or she left a previous job, or says he or she graduated from college even though he or she left a semester shy of graduating. From an employer's point of view, however, this lie is seen as a serious character flaw. If an employee lied about something small, what else is he or she willing to lie about?
Damage to Your Reputation
You can pretty much kiss your employment references goodbye if you're found to have provided false information on your resume. Even if your employer doesn't terminate the employment relationship for the fraudulent information, you'll still have to suffer the embarrassment of having your employer know you lied. Additionally, our digital-age lives make it easier and easier for us to network with other professionals in similar industries. In fields that are small or specialized, word can travel pretty quickly. If someone lost a job due to dishonesty, there's a good chance the word will get out. Some recruiters have even been known to flag candidates who have been found to have fraudulent information on their resumes. A simple lie could have career-long consequences.
Possible Legal Action
Generally speaking, employees who have lied on their resumes have no legal recourse against their former employers. This can also impact a former employee's ability to seek legal recourse for an employer's actions which may have been legitimately illegal. This is known as the "after-acquired evidence" theory. If the employment relationship was found to be based upon fraudulent information to start with, illegal acts which occurred during the employment relationship may not be actionable by law. It's sad to think that employees could lose what limited rights they do have in employment relationships as a result of unethical decisions made during recruitment.
The Bottom Line
Given the relative ease of digging up the truth, and the unpleasant potential outcomes of lying to a new employer, it's hard to believe that anyone would risk putting false information in a resume. However, we've all heard the phrase "desperate times call for desperate measures." It's true that tough economic times make some people resort to risky behavior. However, this creates an unfair advantage over honest, legitimate candidates who aren't lying on their resumes. For those who are considering providing false information to a potential employer, consider how much an employer might appreciate the honest approach. There are honest ways to deal with absences from the workplace, incomplete degrees or even dismissals from previous jobs that won't hurt your chances of getting a new job.
Originally posted on Investopedia.com
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