CV Fraud can be Prosecuted – When Should it be?

By April Harrington.
28 Oct 2022

In August 2022, a chief executive was ordered to pay back part of his salary after falsifying his PhD and career.

The conclusion of the case poses an important question for businesses:

“Where is the line between embellishment and lying?”

Knowing where the threshold is will mean the difference between pursuing legal action and regular disciplinary process. This article attempts to answer the question and explore what it could mean for future cases of a similar nature.hiring manager analysing CV on video call


hiring manager analysing cv on video call


Why is this an issue now?

We’ve all done it. We might say we have a “wealth of knowledge” in a certain subject, or perhaps you are “proficient” at excel, when in fact you only have a basic understanding. Studies back this up. A recent YouGov survey found that 10% of Brits admitted to having lied on their CV at some point in their careers.

CVs are meant to convince you, the employer, to hire the person writing it. It is only natural then, that candidates make themselves sound better than they are. After all, many skills can be picked up on the job, or improved as time goes on.

In the case of Jon Andrewes however, he had lied about having a PhD and an MBA. This is different to embellishment, as he completely fabricated qualifications. What’s more, Andrewes was employed as CEO from 2004 to 2015. As a result, he was paid a CEO’s salary for almost a decade. This meant he earned around £643,000 during this time. After years of back and forth, he has now been ordered to pay back £96,737.24 by the Supreme Court.

This ruling has got many employers wondering whether they’d have a case too. They might have, depending on the nature of the lie…

When is the lie too much?

If the Andrewes case is the example, then the line is drawn when the employee fabricates a qualification or other major factor that resulted in them being hired. This could include an experience requirement of 5 years, for example.

If you’ve identified an issue, then you need to consider your next steps. A lie of this magnitude could constitute a breach of trust and result in the relationship between the employee and employer breaking down. This means you could consider disciplinary action, and even dismissal.


conducting an interview


When should I consider legal action?

Cases as extreme as the Andrewes case are rare. However, it does set a legal precedent.

It doesn’t mean you can go ahead and dismiss employees for lying on their CVs. Nor can you begin ordering them to pay back money that they may owe.

If the employee has fabricated qualifications, you could take them to court, but you should consider the effect of this before you do so. These types of cases are costly, eating into productivity and business time. There is no guarantee of success either. The ruling will likely depend on a number of factors, the most important being:

  1. Severity of the lie(s)
  2. Length of employment

If you’ve discovered that an employee had fabricated qualifications or experience in your workplace, get independent expert advice by calling 01455 858 132.

About the Author

April Harrington.

An experienced Senior Employment Law Consultant, who has worked for the group for over 9 years. April specialises in discrimination legislation. April has an extensive background in training, as well as recruitment and hospitality.

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