Shading the truth: Is it illegal to lie on a job application?

Getting a positive response from a company where you have applied can be exciting as there are likely chances for you to get your dream job. But if you have been searching for a position for a long time and not getting a response after sending several applications you might think to add additional information (either it is true or not) in your resume to stretch the truth a little bit and to get a quick reply and a call from HR.

Have you ever wondered what happens if the employer figures out that your application is not accurate? Or after getting an interview call you are worried about what happens if you get caught? Of course, the consequences can be bitter.

So, is it illegal to lie on a job application? Resumes are not legal documents and if you have lied in your job application, depending on your lies you have no obligation to see the employment court but the act can bring tough significance upon your future life. To know how a lie impacts your job and destroys your career, read on.

What is important to know about lies on a job application?

As the job market is getting saturated with skilled and professional employees, a resume serves as a warrior to make us survive in such a competitive environment and helps in getting the desired job. Generally, you need to have an eye-catchy and impressive resume to stand out among the thousands of other candidates. According to a survey, 78% of job applicants lie when they are called for the hiring process. When it comes to adding lies on the job application, it’s vital to comprehend those ramifications that can hit hard. 

It’s also important to make no mistakes while exaggerating your accomplishments in your curriculum vitae. It’s always better to design your resume according to the requirements of the job without copying the straight words that the employer has mentioned in the job ad. Just highlight your achievements to stress out and neglect the specifics that often weaken your narrative.

Here, our focus is not the narrative-crafting in your resume, but the lies that kept misleading the employer. These lies can contain everything from your past experiences, your qualifications, skill set, to your accomplishments. For instance:

  • Former job title lies
  • Claiming about being bilingual
  • Showing a higher GPA to impress employers
  • Showing the title of a degree that you never earned
  • Lying to not have a criminal record
  • Listing soft and hard skills that aren’t possess
  • Designing lies to conceal employment gaps

These types of lies in a resume show mere embellishment. These attempts really intend to implement false impressions on the employers and misinterpret you as a person. This can also fall into fraudulent claims that prevent your resume from moving forward from the application desk. On the contrary, once they are discovered, they bring serious consequences.

Is it illegal to lie on a job application?

After reading the above discussion, you might be wondering what the consequences are if you lie on a job application or is it illegal to lie on a job application when you only intend to have a better position. However, there are states where no statutes and penalties against certain lies are implemented that bears no burden. But some states address lies that fall under the cause of prosecution that involves showing certain educational achievements that are not earned. Criminal penalties are listed for those who violate these laws.

In Texas, an applicant can be accused of a Class B misdemeanor if the misinterpretation of educational achievements is discovered. Under this code of law, you can be convicted for falsely claiming a secondary-educational degree to obtain employment, however, it is a crime to claim such degrees or achievements in your application that you haven’t earned. Kentucky and New Jersey address the attempt similarly.

Therefore, knowing the legitimacy of a lie in an application depends on the type of lie that could result in a potential lawsuit, job loss, or criminal prosecution.  

Potential consequences of lying on a job application

According to certain state statutes, lying on an application can bring imprisonment and of course hefty fines. Some of those are serious penalties that are legislated to deter the activity. But what about those lies that are not criminal consequences against these lies can still put you into devastating situations. You can lose your employment and the record of losing your job because of this can affect your future employment badly. The truth may never leave you and there’s no way of coming out.

Moreover, some additional job application lies unfold other legal obligations on an employee that allows an employer to sue the potential candidate for the damages. Additionally, in the future, if you sue your employer for discrimination or any other legal liability, your employer can use your lies against you and the case overturn and you may have to face the ramifications.

What should you do?

It is always suggested to remain honest in your applications and on your resume before applying to any posted job. After knowing the consequences, would you still want to craft your resume to make it impressive? You can but only by avoiding adding lies. It’s important to consider the consequences before you misinterpret the information in your resume. 

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