Fully 85 percent of people lie on their resume, according to HireRight’s 2018 Employment Report. The most common types of lies on resumes are embellishments of education or stretching their skills. Some job seekers lie about dates at a job. You might call it “padding” or “fudging.” It doesn’t seem serious.
Here in the United States, you might get fired or not get the job for lying on your resume. But a case in Europe demonstrates the severity.
The New York Times reports that a 53-year-old janitor is serving 10 years in Thiva Prison in Greece for falsifying her primary school diploma. Yes, she “doctored” a certificate that showed she completed six year of elementary level education. She had actually only completed five years. She had been at her job for 18 years when a review found the inconsistency.
She lied on a job application. And it took two decades to uncover, so now she’ll face a decade in prison!?
The case is under review in Greece. An online petition was started for the unnamed woman. Over 30,000 people are in support of her. Let’s be clear, an infraction of the law, no matter how small, is still an infraction. Does she deserve to spend 10 years in jail for it? It does seem harsh. According to one statement, she just needed to take care of her family. The ruling is currently being appealed.
Could you be jailed for lying on your resume?
In Texas, for example, it’s a Class B misdemeanor to claim to have a postsecondary degree that is fraudulent in advertising or with the intent to obtain employment. A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to $2,000 in fines and 6 months in prison. Punishment for lying about college degrees on your resume vary by state. Kentucky ups the ante to a Class A misdemeanor with up to a year in jail.
Your employer can certainly fire you if you lie on your resume. You may also jeopardize a legal suit by lying on your resume. Say you want to sue your employer for violating your legal rights, maybe they didn’t give you a promotion because of your race. If you had lied on your resume about anything, even something unrelated to your race, you have undermined your claim. Your employer could say that they wouldn’t have hired you, so your claim is irrelevant.
The lesson here is not to lie on your resume or job application, no matter how small the lie is. It’s just not worth it.