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If you use a job application kiosk, warn applicants that lying is a crime

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in Employee Benefits Program,Hiring,Human Resources

If, like many employers these days, you cut down on recruiting costs by using a computer-based kiosk application system, consider adding a warning before applicants begin the process.

Colorado makes it a crime for a person to knowingly access “any computer, computer network, or computer system … to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, money, property, services … or other thing of value.”

Arguably, the law could cover lying on an application completed in a kiosk (or even over the Internet) in order to obtain a job offer. As the following case shows, even filling out a phone application for unemployment benefits and lying in the process can be prosecuted as a computer crime.

Recent case: Nina Rice applied for unemployment compensation benefits using Colorado’s automated phone system. She also used it once a week to update the state on her unemployment status. The system allowed her to respond by pushing a phone button to indicate whether she had worked during the week for which she claimed benefits. On one occasion, she selected the button for “no” when, in fact, she had worked.

She was prosecuted and convicted under the computer crime law—a jury determined she lied to get money from the state. Although the case was overturned on a technicality (the jury got an incorrect instruction), the case indicates a new willingness to prosecute people for providing false information in order to obtain something of value. (Colorado v. Rice, No. 05-CA-0931, Court of Appeals of Colorado, 2008)

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