Business Category Business: career motivation and tips to move ahead

Can you be dismissed for lying to your employer?

Lying to an employer is never a sound decision.

When you lie about a previous job termination, a college degree, a criminal history or a previous employment experience, you enter into a contract with your employer with false information. Depending on the situation, you may be terminated or reprimanded with a written warning.

Job Application

You can be dismissed for lying on a resume, a job application or during a job interview, especially if the lie relates to the job for which you are hired. For example, if your employer discovers you lied about earning a specialised degree or advanced certificate in a particular field, you may be terminated on the grounds that you do not meet the minimum eligibility requirement for the position. According to law library managing editor and attorney at law Ken LaMance, lying on a job application is the same as falsifying a contract and is punishable under the law. You can sue for wrongful termination, but the law is not on your side. Your employer only needs to show that you lied about a pivotal aspect of your education or training, and that he would have not hired you had he found out earlier, according to LaMance.

Conflict of Interest

You may be terminated if you lie to an employer about a conflict of interest. The Ethics Resource Center (ERC), a non-profit research organisation that promotes the advancement of high ethical standards and practices, defines "conflict of interest" as an action or association that affects an employee's ability to make impartial and fair decisions relating to his job. For example, an employee using company files to obtain sales leads for a second job is a clear conflict for all parties involved.

Employee conflict of interest is not always illegal, but is generally forbidden in the workplace. In some situations, it can lead to termination.

Minor Lies

Minor lies about why you were late to work may receive only a written warning or lead to a one-on-one meeting with management to discuss future consequences.

Depending on the circumstance, you may be able to take responsibility for your actions and acknowledge in writing that you will not repeat the offence again. Developing a reputation for lies --- no matter how small --- may eventually lead to termination.

Legal System

In general courts have ruled that employees who lie to get employment cannot later sue their employer claiming that they were wronged.

If you were dishonest about matters not related to your job, a court may rule that you can bring a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination. However, the court may reduce your damages by the amount of loss you caused your employer.