Most people would concur that it is a common occurrence or perception that people will have, at least some, incorrect facts, inconsistencies, exaggerations or untruths in amongst the true working and education history detailed in their resumes.
These types of ‘white lies’, or inconsistencies, are often brushed off as acceptable, and rarely are the ramifications of such inconsistencies considered by people when altering their resume.
The practice of over exaggerating work experience or the length of employment completed with a past employer is becoming riskier, as employers are becoming more savvy in investigating prospective employees, and actually following up references from previous employers.
Unfortunately, this was the case for a gentleman who had done some creative editing to his resume prior to becoming employed with a large car hire company. The gentleman had proclaimed that he had worked for his previous employer for a period of five (5) years, when in fact it had only been for a period of 10 months. His deceit was uncovered by his employer, and he was subsequently dismissed from his position.
Not happy with being dismissed, the gentleman made an application to Fair Work for unfair dismissal and the case came before the Fair Work Commission (‘FW Commission’) for deliberation.
The FW Commission considered the matter in detail and found that by misstating his work history, the employee had in fact blatantly and intentionally misled his employer to believe that he had a stable work history and determined that the employer had been justified in terminating his employment and the application was dismissed.
The outcome of this case provides us with some lessons for employers and employees alike.
It is important that employers verify the information contained in prospective employees resumes, as much as practically possible, to ensure that they are satisfied that the information provided to them is true and correct prior to presenting an offer of employment.
If an employee has already commenced work, and the employer subsequently becomes aware of an inconsistency or error in the employees resume, the employer should very carefully consider the entirety of the circumstances before taking any steps.
This includes, but is not limited to, the consideration of several factors, such as:
- the nature of the inconsistency;
- whether it could have been inadvertent rather than intentional:
- the effect of the misnomer on the relationship of honesty, trust and integrity between the employer and the employee; and
- whether the error relates to an inherent requirement of the employee’s employment.
Ultimately, when faced with such a situation it would be prudent for the employer to seek legal advice in relation to the next steps to ensure that they are aware of their options and obligations.
Similarly, if you are considering applying for employment, it would be prudent to do a thorough review of your resume ensuring that all of the details are correct, and that there are no exaggerations or other misleading information.
An employer relies on the information that you present in your resume and during an interview, and accordingly, you may present false information at your own peril.
Should you need assistance with determining what your options are when an employment law situation arises (whether you are the employer or an employee), feel free to contact one of our experienced and professional Gold Coast lawyers on 5563 8970 today.