In today’s online world, the ability to produce false identities and credentials is astounding. This makes the task of conducting background and reference checks during the hiring process even more important.
If an employee ‘fakes’ credentials, and there is harm caused because the employee was not actually qualified to do the work, the employer can be held “vicariously liable” for the harm. This means, that the injured/damaged party can sue the employer to recoup the cost of the damage. Worse, if the person is working in a technical job (architect, engineer) and does not have proper qualifications, the employer can be liable for any costs to bring the project up to proper code.
During the hiring process, always obtain an attestation (declaration) that the information being provided by the candidate regarding their education and work experience is true. The attestation could allow the employer to dismiss the employee on a just-cause basis for a serious lie on the resume.
If the person has provided false information that does not materially affect the ability to perform the job, such as saying they have a high school diploma, or saying they worked for a year when it really was only 6 months, would not likely be considered grounds for a just cause dismissal. But saying you are an engineer registered with ASME when you are not, is definitely grounds for dismissal. Always ask for proof of current registration for certifications and check the regulatory website for the public register to see if your candidate is listed.
You should also obtain written authorization to do a background/reference check. This is important because many educational institutions and former employers will not provide information that could be considered “private” without this authorization.
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