Workplace rights: Beware CV cheats

Jeffrey Archer famously lied on his CV. And earlier this year, the CEO of US electronics retailer RadioShack had to resign after it transpired he had falsely claimed to have a BSc from the Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College when he joined the firm 12 years earlier.

by Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors,e-mail: employment@lewissilkin.com

With competition for jobs tougher than ever, such high-profile cases are just the tip of a mendacity iceberg. In a recent survey of more than 3,700 CVs by The Risk Advisory Group (Trag), 20% were found to contain whoppers such as fabricated work experience, exaggerated academic qualifications and omission of court judgments. Such candidates not only jeopardise their reputation and career but risk being prosecuted for deception and fraud. Employers are developing sophisticated vetting procedures for weeding out untruthful applicants, or hiring screening specialists such as Trag. But the data protection and privacy rights of individuals need to be observed - a potentially complex process where international background checks are necessary. Generally, employers should be upfront about the nature and extent of vetting and the sources to be used, seek only data that is relevant and justified and, when CV discrepancies come to light, allow the candidate to set the record straight.

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