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How should I deal with an employee who is a chronic liar?

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in The HR Specialist Forum

We have an employee who lies all the time about work he has or has not completed. His boss and co-workers have had enough, and they came to me in HR for a solution. How should I approach this problem? I’m afraid if I confront him on it, he’ll just lie to me.—Denise

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Peg June 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

There is no legitimate reason for “lying”. Perhaps a policy: All employees are required uphold respectful relations with all coworkers and customers, including honesty and respect in all aspects of their work. Any dishonest act, whether misrepresenting your work or your credentials or taking any single piece of company property without management’s express permission will be grounds for immediate termination. If you prefer to go the “at will”route, be sure to review your manuals so that language therein does not undermined your state’s at will definitions.


John April 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm

If employment is “at will”, termination would be the easiest solution!


celt365 April 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Assuming there’s no medical or other “Legitimate” reason:

Document! Document! Document! Document the poor performance. (The Boss should be doing this, not HR.)

Assign a task with a deadline. (I would “pad” the deadline just in case someone else has to finish the job before the REAL deadline.)

Make sure the person in question understands the assignment and their deadline.

Follow up periodically during the assignment to check progress. Real progress here, not “yep, it’s done.” Ask them to show you the work completed. If it’s not completed by the deadline, document this and have someone else finish the job.

This can be done on a task by task basis or on a project level. (i.e. Project=Filing Drawer, Tasks=File Folders. Some projects have more than one task needed to complete the project as a whole)

If there is true poor performance and not just a lack of clear communication, then let the person go. The Boss and Coworkers will be happier and so will you.


Kristie Lee April 7, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Start documenting! Write the person up & make sure everything is documented in this persons file…. otherwise in court (if it goes that far) it will end up a ‘he-said, she-said’ situation – and those are hard cases to win. Most companies have a no-tolerance policy – or a three-strike policy… depending on exactly what it is that is being lied about. Check your employee handbook for the specific policy – then act on it.


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