One of Our Officers Lied on His Application. Should We Fire Him?

A Kantola Learning Minute

An HR manager says that one of the company's officers was outed by a blogger for lying on his application. He's great at his job but policy clearly states that lying on the application -- which is what he did -- is grounds for termination. What should the company do, and what does it mean for other employees if they do nothing? Find out in this week's Kantola Learning Minute with Lester S. Rosen, J.D., founder of Employment Screening Resources®.

Hi, Les Rosen here with another Kantola Learning Minute, and this time we have a really difficult question that raises a dilemma, and there may not be a really good answer to this one.

So, here's the question: Our application says that lying or material omissions on the application are grounds for termination no matter when discovered. One of our officers got outed, in fact by a blogger who determined that he didn't have the credentials he claimed. We're not going to do anything to him -- he's great at his job -- but does that mean I will no longer be able to fire others if they get caught making lies on their applications.

Well, what to do? I'll give you a very lawyer-like answer: It depends. You have a situation here, on one hand, where you caught a person lying, and that's certainly not acceptable. On the other hand, let's assume the person's now been on the job for awhile and they're fantastic at what they're doing, and you really don't want to lose them. You are on the horns of a dilemma.

The best advice I can give is to take a look at this very carefully. There may be some remedy short of termination. After all, the application form says it's grounds for termination doesn't mean you need to go all that far. On the other hand, you don't want to set a policy that it's okay for people to lie.

So, in this type of situation, all I can tell you is that it's very fact specific and you want to be very careful with what you do. But whatever it is you do, you want to make sure it's for the good of the company and that you document, document, document.

I hope that helps. Thanks.

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