Magnus Legal Blog: Is lying to employers in an interview or on your CV illegal?

2nd June 2016

Is lying to employers in an interview or on your CV illegal? 

Everyone gets a little creative with their CVs and when they are interviewed by prospective employers. You might claim there is something you are passionate about that you don’t find particularly interesting in reality, you might embellish a story to make it more appealing to your interviewer, or you might tell them you see yourself there in five years time when it’s the furthest thing from what you desire.

We all make these little white lies during the job seeking process. According to the Higher Education Degree Datacheck almost one third of graduates have made up information on their CV. With small embellishments and exaggerations, most employers are likely to be understanding; it’s a competitive market and this is to be expected. But it can become problematic for employer and employee alike if you say you are qualified or experienced with something you later cannot do. You could lose your job and have to start the process all over again without a good reference. 39% of UK organisations have fired a staff member because they have been found to have misled their employer during the application process by, for instance, lying on their resume or misrepresenting themselves during their interview.

However, what if they’re not little white lies? What if they’re medium sized grey lies? Or even big black lie? Are there legal ramifications that you might face with your employer? Losing your job because you lied about your skills and experience is humiliating, upsetting and deeply inconvenient, but it can be a lot worse if you grossly misrepresent yourself to an employer. It can constitute a criminal offence under the Fraud Act of 2006 because you have “dishonestly [made] a false representation” to “make a gain for [yourself]”.

Let’s be realistic: it is very unlikely that you will ever be prosecuted for fraud because you said you enjoyed travelling but have never been outside Manchester. However, if your lie is very severe, you could find yourself in serious trouble. This includes falsifying qualifications or making up references. For instance, in 2009, an NHS human resources manager was found to have fabricated a degree, certificate and training course to get into a job she was untrained for. She was given a six month suspended sentence and fined almost £10,000.

Get in touch with Magnus Legal’s employment solicitors for help with any issue related to work.


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