The consequences of falsifying information on your CV

falsifying a CV

Providing false information on your CV in a job application is considered fraud. Fraud is defined as the wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. It is not uncommon to slightly enhance your skills and qualification on your CV, in many instances, it is encouraged to sell yourself to prospective employers, however, there can be severe consequences for misrepresenting yourself on your CV.

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), misrepresentation on CV’s has become a terrible issue and the SAQA has considered publicly identifying and shaming those who make themselves guilty of the misrepresentation. The most common lied about facts on CV’s include skills, titles, responsibilities, period of employment and reasons for leaving. Lying on your CV puts both the applicant and the employer at risk. Once discovered, the applicant risks the consequences of facing imprisonment and having their profile flagged for up to six years. This is very damaging to your reputation.

In recently reported case law, the employee, employed in the position of financial manager in 2009, was charged in 2013 for misrepresenting his qualifications in his CV at the time of the appointment. The employee was dismissed for gross dishonesty following a disciplinary enquiry. Unhappy with the dismissal, the employee referred the matter to the CCMA. The matter proceeded to arbitration before the Commissioner. In an award dated 30 April 2014, the commissioner determined that the employee’s dismissal was substantively unfair and awarded the employee six-month compensation. The employer sought to set aside the award on review. Upon review, the Labour Court found that the Commissioner’s findings that the employee’s dismissal was substantively unfair and unreasonable and the award was set aside on review.

The Labour Court found that the employee’s formal qualifications were a material consideration for his appointment to the position because the employee received a significantly high scorecard on formal qualifications which resulted in the employee being the preferred candidate for the position. The Labour Court further pointed out that even if the qualifications were not a requirement for the position it does not detract from the employee’s dishonesty in misrepresenting his qualifications.

In most relevant public news, the Cape Town DA mayoral candidate, Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has been suspended with immediate effect from the provincial cabinet following the discovery that he lied on his CV about having a BCom degree. In a statement by Bonginkosi Madikizela he confirmed that he does not have a BCom degree and takes full responsibility for the misrepresentation on his CV, he further claimed that a BCom degree is not a requirement to hold a political office in South Africa and that the misrepresentation of the qualification did not benefit him anyway for the position that he is currently occupying. In a statement by Premier Alan Winde, after he had a meeting with MEC Madikizela, he made it clear that acting with integrity is non-negotiable, MEC Madikizela has since resigned from his position.

As proven in many previous cases the consequences of falsifying information on your CV constitute gross dishonesty and means continued employment would be intolerable. This ultimately warrants dismissal and the possibility of facing criminal charges of fraud and possibly facing a period of imprisonment.

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Charne Sebonka



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