Mon 24 Oct 2022

What to do if your employee has lied on their CV

A recent case of "CV fraud" has brought this issue back into the spotlight.

The recent case of R v Andrewes arose in consequence of a Mr Andrewes dishonestly inflating his experience and qualifications when applying for the role of CEO of a charity in 2004.  When the untruths began to be uncovered Mr Andrewes was charged with and pleaded guilty to "CV Fraud" under the Fraud Act 2006.  The Supreme Court case concerned a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and whether all, any or none of the salary earned by Mr Andrewes should be confiscated.  The Supreme Court held that a confiscation order was appropriate and the appropriate amount was the difference between the earnings over the period Mr Andrewes had worked for the charity and what he would have earned had he not lied about his qualifications. 

Prosecutions like this are very rare, but, according to recent figures, lying on CVs and in job applications is not.  Education and qualifications are the most likely areas to be "enhanced".  So what can employers do to protect their businesses?

Prevention is better than cure in this scenario.  Properly checking the accuracy of the information presented by job applicants should root out anyone who is being less than honest.  This should include asking to see certificates of relevant qualifications and following up with former employers to check dates of employment and positions held.  Ideally references should be requested and checked in advance of an employee commencing work.  Any offer made should be subject to satisfactory references. Provided matters are dealt with in this way then it would simply be a case of withdrawing the offer if a reference was found to be false or otherwise unsatisfactory.

However, it is not uncommon for employment to commence before references are obtained or checks finalised. Alternatively, as in Mr Andrewes case, it may be that the issue only comes to light some years down the line. In these circumstances it may be possible to terminate on the grounds of gross misconduct without notice. However, depending on the exact circumstances, termination with notice may be more appropriate. Whether dismissal is appropriate though will depend on the exact circumstances of each case. It is obviously important, where the employee has qualifying service, that a full disciplinary process, compliant with the ACAS Code, is followed with the employee being given a full opportunity to respond.

Mr Andrewes case should perhaps be more of a warning to employees rather than employers.  Embellishing CVs can have life changing consequences - as well has having to repay £96,737.24, Mr Andrewes was sentenced to two years in jail. 

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