It is common for job applicants to lie about their qualifications and the problem is far more prevalent than most employees realise, according to an expert in labour and employment law. Sandile July,
director at Werksmans Attorneys, said it was “commonplace” for job applicants to lie about their qualifications and their experience.
“It is vital that employers – both in the private sector and in government – should verify all information on every candidate’s CV. Providing false and misleading information on CVs or during interviews is much more widespread than most people realise.”
He noted that while it was outright fraud to tender bogus qualifications and that employers were fully entitled to lay charges against the perpetrators with the police, this did not mean however that fraudsters could be dismissed outright.
“There is a process that has to be followed, which includes a disciplinary hearing. If an employee lied about his criminal record an employer might be required to prove that this deception made it impossible for an employee to perform his job adequately.
“For instance, a criminal record relating to something as minor as a speeding offence would not impact on the ability of an accountant to do his or her job.
He said that the case of a police officer however, it would be an entirely different matter. “That’s because they are in a position of trust. Any criminal record could be problematic,” July said.
Commenting on the approximately 1,500 SAPS members who had been found to have a variety of criminal records, he said it should be “standard practice for all government departments to verify all information supplied by job applicants and not simply take their word that the information they supplied on their application forms was accurate. “In most cases, all an employer does is to call the former employer to verify that the candidate had indeed been employed where he claimed he was.”