Little White Lies and Your Résumé

Pre employment background check liar

Little White Lies and Your Résumé- 01 Aug

When it comes to resumes, who hasn’t stretched the truth a bit? Round up your GPA, make up a nice title… what harm can come of a little embellishment? But while it may not seem like a big deal in the moment, even the smallest of white lies can come back to haunt you even if you have already landed the job.

Misdemeanors and Jail Time

Whether it’s your resume, job interview, or pre employment background check, you need to be careful about the information you present to employers. Individual states vary on their legislation, but in places like Texas or New Jersey, resume fraud can cost you thousands of dollars in fines. In fact, Kentucky has ruled that any individual falsifying an educational degree is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and subject to up to a year in prison. So when listing qualifications or prior job experience, avoid stretching the truth.

More Than Getting Fired

For at-will employees, if your employer discovers that you have lied on a resume, they are well within their legal right to fire you on the spot. Things are a bit different for just-cause employees, but you should still be careful. Resume fraud will still land you in trouble if the falsified information meets the definition of materiality (see more examples of materiality and the effects of resume fraud here.)

Troubles in Court

If we haven’t already mentioned enough consequences, you should know that resume fraud can also jeopardize ongoing lawsuits. For example, if you were unjustly fired from a job and were looking to press charges, a lie on your initial resume could destroy your entire case. Known as “after-acquired” evidence, there are quite a few instances in which this evidence has won cases for the defense and left people without a job and legal recourse.

So, as you navigate the pre employment background check process, you still may feel that you need to “beef up” your resume. And while this may be tempting, tread lightly as the smallest of white lies could have you fired, facing jail time, or losing a court case.

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