FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can you fire an employee for lying on their CV?

Well you might think that lying on your CV may seem harmless, but in the eyes of the law it’s committing fraud by false representation, which could certainly lead to dismissal or a maximum penalty of ten years in prison! A seemingly little white lie on paper, in an email or even an interview is a crime under the Fraud Act of 2006, if the candidate knows the lie to be untrue.

The lie could be anything from making up exam grades to over elaborating previous job responsibilities. A misinterpretation could even be made through body language – a nod or shake of the head can lead to questions if they appear to confirm a lie, such as in an interview.

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Lying about qualifications is especially serious in industries like healthcare, engineering and roles in the public sector. When an employee in one of these sectors says they have a particular qualification and it turns out they have lied, they could be putting their colleagues, your customers and the general public in danger. A dishonest employee could damage the reputation of your company, especially if you have clients who rely on expert knowledge and it also doesn’t make you look like a very diligent employer.

If you decide to dismiss an employee because you found out they have lied on their CV, the longer your employee has been working for you, the harder it will be to justify the dismissal as fair. An employee may have been with you for a few years before you discover they lied and they could argue that they are still good at their job, even without the qualifications fabricated on their CV.

How to avoid the risk of employing someone who has lied on their CV?

Employing someone who has lied on their CV can be both time consuming and costly to an employer. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can adopt in order to avoid this happening:

  • Make sure to carryout checks before you onboard the employee.
  • Ask to see proof of certificates/qualifications which have been detailed on their CV.
  • Carry out DBS checks to ensure your employee hasn’t been convicted of any crime.
  • Check previous employer references in advance and ask for details regarding the employees previous role.

If you need any HR help or advice on vetting a new employee. Get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: or visit  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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