Resume Fraud Could Be Defense Against Discrimination Claims
September 3, 2010
Here’s an interesting take on how a company can use terminated employee’s resume lies as a defense against claims of discrimination and, or retaliation. Check out this post by labor and employment attorney Jeffrey T. Rosenberg. The only catch seems to be that if you knew about the resume fraud after conducting an employment background check and still hired this person, the defense probably goes out the window. Then again, if you knew about it, why would you hire them?
As an employment attorney practicing in New York City, I feel obligated to clarify the negative consequences that can occur as a result of lying on a resume. Most cases concerning falsified resumes arise from situations in which an employee has been terminated for reasons other than lying on his or her resume (ex. poor work performance). After being terminated, the employee commences a lawsuit for unlawful discrimination and/or retaliation, and during discovery, the employer discovers for the first time that the employee’s resume that was submitted with the original job application had been falsified and is fraudulent.
Because the evidence of the resume fraud was first discovered after the termination had already occurred, this new information is called “after-acquired evidence,” and can be used by the employer as a defense to the claims of discrimination and/or retaliation.
In fact, in Quinby v. WestLB AG (2007), the Southern District of New York (federal court covering Manhattan) held that a plaintiff will not be entitled to certain remedies, such as reinstatement and front pay, if the employer can show that it would have terminated the employee anyway based on information that was not acquired until after she was terminated. However, the party asserting the “after-acquired evidence” defense must establish that the wrongdoing was of such severity that the employee would have been terminated on those grounds alone if the employer had known of it at the time of the termination.