You've just recruited Ian but now realise he included false information on his CV. It turns out he was dismissed from his last role within 6 months for misconduct, and not made redundant after 3 years like you were lead to believe. What do you do now?

Lewis Roper Senior Workplace Relations Advisor shares his advice on how to navigate this tricky situation. 

Know the facts
First and foremost you want to determine the degree of fabrication on the employees CV and determine whether the dishonesty was intentional. For example, if someone states on their CV that they’re a qualified civil engineer – and it turns out they’re not – termination may be valid if the qualification is a requirement for the role. However, adding a few months here or there experience in a retail position for example may not warrant termination.

Ask yourself a few questions. How long has the employee been working for the company? Are they performing well and meeting all the requirements of their role? If so, dismissal may not be warranted, and more seriously – you may open yourself up to liabilities in the future. The misconduct must be weighed against other factors like their performance to determine whether termination is valid. If the issue is in relation to qualifications, question whether the qualification is required for the employee to meet the inherit requirements of the role. The employment contract should also be consulted.

Investigate
Before making any hasty decisions and dismissing the employee (opening yourself up to an unfair dismissal or general protections claim), investigate their work history thoroughly.

You can easily contact their previous employer to confirm details, check LinkedIn or do an internet search. If their qualifications are in question, contact their institution and ask for evidence – like a certificate or transcript.

Follow formal disciplinary procedures. You want to give the employee sufficient opportunity to respond to the allegations and provide a reason as to why the information was omitted in the first place.

Reduce the risk
Test the skills that are needed for the role during the recruitment phase. This may be in the form of a trial, and writing test or systems use test. Logical and abstract reasoning may weed out the people with false skills. If qualifications are needed for the role, employers should ask for copies of the qualifications and any relevant information to confirm their legitimacy. And always contact more than one referee!

You can also add a section to your employment contracts where an employee is required to sign an acknowledgement that providing false information might result in withdrawal of an offer or termination.

If you have any questions our Workplace Advice Line team are only a phone call away. The team understand the frustrations, challenges and common mistakes that come with managing workplace issues. Call them on 13 29 59.
“…dismissal may not be warranted, and more seriously – you may open yourself up to liabilities in the future.”