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Fire the liar?

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in Your Office Coach

Question: My husband listed a four-year degree on his resume, even though he only has a two-year degree.  When he was truthful about his education, he was not getting any interviews, despite having 20 years’ experience.  Three weeks ago, he started a new job, but today the HR manager sent him an email saying that the college could not verify his degree. He did attend this school, but left before graduating. My husband is not a liar. He was close to receiving his B.S. degree, and everything else on his resume is true. He only misrepresented his education because he was desperate to find employment. He plans to tell his boss the truth immediately. Do you think he can save his job?  - Worried Wife

Answer: Let’s be clear about one thing. Although your husband may be a generally honest person, he did lie to this employer. By doing so, he may have put his job at risk. In addition to being unethical, falsifying facts on a resume is just plain stupid.  Interviewers can easily discover the truth through background checks, which are increasingly common these days.

As your husband now knows, investigations can take place even after hiring, and many company policies require automatic termination of anyone providing bogus information. One unfortunate soul who lied on an application was fired after five years of employment. The falsehood was unearthed when he applied for a promotion.

If this company has a firm “fire the liar” policy, or if the degree is a job requirement, your husband is probably out of luck. Otherwise, his best bet is to plead for forgiveness and hope his manager is in a merciful mood.
It goes on BMD, APT and EL

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 18, 2015 at 11:11 am

Unfortunately, this person’s husband lied on his resume and misrepresented himself. Most companies and firms consider this grounds for immediate dismissal. While I have sympathy for him because he was desperate for the job, it only showed the management at his new company that, even thought he has years of experience in the field, he cannot be trusted with representing the company truthfully or trusted by his co-workers. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but I do agree with the Susan that he should look into finishing his degree and THEN apply for appropriate jobs.


Susan January 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

If he “was close to receiving his degree” and has 20 years experience, the smartest thing he could do is go back to that college ASAP and see how difficult it would be to finish his 4 year degree. Most 4 year colleges offer distance learning options and will also evaluate those “20 years of work experience” to determine what experiential learning he has that can qualify for college credit. (He should put together a portfolio of examples of his work, professional articles/papers written, professional courses taken, software packages he knows, etc.) If the particular college he attended cannot accommodate his needs for degree completion, he should look for another 4-year accredited university that can. With so many distance learning options available for working adults, there’s just no excuse for him not to finish up his degree… And it is never too late! Steven Spielburg only recently got his degree…likewise “Dave” founder of Wendy’s got his late in life. Your husband can too.


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