Lying by omission is such a severe workplace infraction that you might be surprised to learn that it's rarely illegal. Instead, most cases of employment dishonesty are governed by workplace policies and contracts that make it legal for your employer to fire you, but that provide few or no options for criminal prosecution. There are some exceptions, though, most notably those governing professional licenses.
If you have a contract, your contract governs your employment relationship with your boss. If the contract allows you to be fired for lying by omission or requires you to pay back funds that result from the lie, you'll likely be on the hook for the lie, no matter how small. If you don't have a contract, you can still be fired for lying unless you work for a business that sets specific standards for procedures that must be followed prior to firing you.
It might come as a surprise to learn that lying on your resume is not explicitly illegal, even if you don't admit to a criminal record or being kicked out of school for plagiarism. Your employer can, however, fire you for these omissions. In a limited number of cases, a lie might be a crime. These cases only occur when an omission gives rise to an illegal action, so it's the action, and not the omission, that is the crime. For example, a convicted sex offender who successfully applies to work with children has almost always violated the law. Employers can report such egregious behavior to the police.
Licensed professions, such as attorney, physician and marriage and family therapist, are professions for which you must receive a state license to practice. If you fail to tell your employer that your license has lapsed or does not exist, you could lose your job. Moreover, practicing without a professional license can be a crime, and you may also be sued for any harms you cause while practicing without a license.
Negligence can be a civil or -- in severe cases -- criminal offense. If you fail to reveal vital information to your boss about worker safety or another serious issue, you could be negligent. For example, if testing shows that a car your company is making might explode and you don't mention this to your boss, you or the company could be sued for negligence. If your negligence appears intentional or malicious, you could even be criminally prosecuted.
Lying About Crimes
If you commit a crime, such as overbilling, money laundering or claiming that you saw a client you never saw, you could be both criminally and civilly liable for your actions and the lie. For example, an employee who uncovers a software glitch that overbills clients, but who then neglects to share that information with her boss, may lose her job, be sued or even face criminal charges.
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