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Consequences of Lying in the Workplace in New York

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.
consequences of lying in the workplace

A big component of any work relationship is trust. An employer needs to be able to trust that their employees will act with integrity, represent their business in the best possible way, and honor the best interest of the business. Likewise, an employee needs to have trust that their employer will be honest in how they conduct business and how they interact with their employees. Fellow employees need to have trust that their coworkers are trustworthy. When people lie, any professional work relationship can completely change.

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Even further, lying in the workplace may result in a range of consequences. These consequences can be very serious, like termination from a job. If you find yourself in a situation involving lies at work, it is important to understand the possible legal implications. If you are in New York City, the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes have the knowledge you need to understand your options. Submit a free consultation form today to learn how we can help you navigate your circumstances.

Definition of Dishonesty in the Workplace

Dishonesty in the workplace can take many forms. It could be a lie told to an employer by an employee, or vice versa. It could be a lie on a resume or a lie told during a job interview. It could be a lie done in the course of someone’s work. There are many variations of types of dishonesty and situations in which people may be dishonest. These unethical behaviors may result in unintended consequences. 

Types of Lies

When we think of the concept of lying, we often immediately think of obvious, bold untruths. However, sometimes dishonesty includes those so-called gray areas or twistings of the truth, such as misstatements and misrepresentations. What may seem like a little white lies at the time may have much bigger consequences than you think. 

Lying on Your Resume

Creating the perfect resume can be a stressful experience, especially with the added pressure that comes with a job hunt. Lying on your resume may seem like no big deal. You may think that everyone else does it. You may be convinced it is the only way to land you that job you desire. In fact, people are often taught to show their absolute best side on their resume. While some people may call resume manipulation just a bit of “padding,” not accurately reflecting yourself or your experience on your resume is a lie. Whether big or small, there may be consequences for your resume embellishments beyond souring your employment relationship. 

Around 36% of people admit that they have lied on their resume and 31% have reported they were caught. Of those people who were caught, 65% were not hired or eventually fired. But being turned down for a job or fired is not the worst thing that could result from a lie on your resume. You may be barred from bringing lawsuits against your employers later on, even if it has legitimate grounds. You may face criminal punishment for your lie depending on the nature of it. 

You Lied to Employer

A lie to an employer can be as small as saying you finished a project that you are almost done with, but need a couple more hours to finish. It could be a bigger lie, such as one that impacts the finances or the reputation of the business. The lie could seem harmless, such as taking a sick day when you feel perfectly fine but have things outside of work you need to do. 

Lying to employers may be grounds for all types of consequences. The most obvious consequence is the distrust that will be created as a result of the lie. A dishonest employee may be treated differently than normal. Your employer may not trust you with certain projects anymore, or may decide you are not as qualified for a promotion as others. You could be temporarily suspended or placed on leave from your job as a result of your lie. Even more serious, you could be fired. 

Employer Lied to You

When your employer lies to you, the trust between the employer and employee inevitably starts to break down. An employer who lies to you may face consequences as well. For instance, your employer could fire you for no reason, or give you some vague reason that does not seem to check out. Although New York is an at-will employment state, which means you can be fired for any reason, there are some things that are illegal to fire someone for. This may include discrimination, whistleblowing, and being fired for making harassment complaints. Additionally, an employer’s lie may ultimately snowball into creating a hostile work environment. If you find yourself in a situation where your boss lies, contact us at The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes to see what options are available to you.

Falsifying Documents in the Workplace

Falsifying documents in the workplace includes making changes to information on a document or creating a document that contains dishonest or misleading information. Documents are most frequently falsified for the gian of the employee or company. A document may be falsified to make a company appear to have more assets or clients than it really does have. This kind of dishonest behavior can seriously hurt a business and put the employees involved in the lie at risk of serious penalties. The following are some typical documents that are falsified: 

  1. Timesheets 
  2. Sales records 
  3. Bank account records
  4. Income statements 
  5. Tax returns

Gross Dishonesty in the Workplace

Gross dishonesty in the workplace is that which can lead to instant dismissal. It differs from normal misconduct in level of severity. Certain dishonest acts may lead to discipline but do not rise to the level of dismissal. Examples of gross misconduct includes: 

  • Theft of petty cash 
  • Theft of office supplies 
  • Fraudulent claims of expenses 
  • Espionage that results in financial gain 
  • Falsifying certain documents
  • Physical assault or fighting
  • Harassment

Although there may be grounds for an instant dismissal, it is important that employers proceed fairly and with care to remain in compliance with certain rules. If you are an employer who finds yourself needings to dismiss an employee for their gross dishonesty, give the attorneys at The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes a call. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge you need to ensure you are approaching the situation in the best possible manner. 

Consequences of Dishonesty in the Workplace

The most obvious consequence of being dishonest in the course of your employment is the impact and potentially deterioration it may have on your work relationships. This can include your relationships with supervisors, coworkers, or those you supervise. Dishonesty in the workplace may also impact consumer trust in your company or business dealings with other companies. 

case law on dishonesty in the workplace

Further, dishonesty may be grounds for a range of discipline. An employer may decide to demote, temporarily suspend, or take work or clients away from an employee as discipline. However, more serious consequences like getting fired, sued, losing your license, or facing criminal charges may be possible. 

Grounds for Termination

Dishonesty may be grounds for termination from your job. Employers often have the legal ability to fire employees who are found to be dishonest. Even further, these firings are often viewed as being valid because of the breach or the employer’s trust and unprofessionalism. At will employees can be fired for any reason. And if an at will employee is fired for dishonesty, they may have no legal recourse. 

Loss of Legal Claims

Someone who has been terminated for dishonesty may lose out on legal claims they would otherwise be able to validly bring against their employer. An employee who has been fired may lose their right to sue their employer for any legal claims they have against that employer. If the employee is still able to bring a claim against their employer, they may discover that the damages they are awarded will be reduced as a result of their dishonesty. It is important to know that an employer can use any evidence of your honesty that they learn about as a defense against your legal action. Even if the employee’s dishonest action happened later than the underlying conduct of the claim, it can still be used against the employee.

Loss of Professional License

Being dishonest in the workplace puts your professional license at risk. Most professional licenses have a board that monitors the members of their professions. This is true for professionals like lawyers and doctors. These boards will review allegations of dishonesty and may take action to suspend or terminate the license of those members.

Criminal Charges

Although criminal charges as a result of dishonesty in the workplace are not as common, it is still a possible consequence. Even lying on a job application by stating false military service or applying for state or federal jobs with a fabricated application can lead to criminal charges. 

Civil Liability

Dishonesty in the workplace may also make you vulnerable to civil actions. An employer may decide to sue an employee depending on the nature of the dishonesty. The employee may be liable for fraud or misrepresentation. And the civil damages can be significant. Alternatively, an employee may decide to sue their employer as well.

Case Law on Dishonesty in the Workplace 

In December of 2020, The Southern District of New York unsealed complaints that charged five current or former employees of the Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit with federal program fraud, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. This was gross misconduct on the part of these employees. These employees had submitted time reports which claimed hundreds of overtime hours that the employees actually never worked. The overtime rate was much higher than regular pay, usually about one and a half or two times greater than hourly rates. The court held that collectively these defendants earned more than $1 million in overtime. This false claim of overtime hours was extraordinary, and almost physically impossible. In actuality, the defendants were not at work at all. They were home or out doing non work-related activities. Because of the dishonesty of these employees, consumers had to pay more for everyday services and the integrity of these organizations was questioned. Not to mention the potential of these employees spending up to 10 years in prison for their lies.


Q: What happens if you get caught lying to welfare?

A: Welfare fraud can be serious. If you are caught and found guilty, you may have to pay restitution for the benefits you have wrongfully received. You may be sentenced to complete community service or serve jail time. There may be a series of fines you have to pay as well. Apart from these criminal penalties, you may also be barred from receiving welfare benefits for a certain period of time. Even further, you may be completely disqualified from receiving benefits.

Q: What is a toxic coworker?

A: Toxic coworkers are those who act in a way that is harmful to the organization. Typically, toxic coworkers are not team players. They are typically employees who do not have the organization’s best interests at heart. Instead, they are more focused on what they can gain personally. They may take advantage of coworkers or seize opportunities to gain from the errors of their coworkers. This can disturb the culture of the business and affect your ability to effectively complete your job as well.

Q: How do you stop dishonesty at work?

A: Employers can arguably do the most to prevent dishonesty in the workplace. Employers should work to foster a work culture where honesty is rewarded. They can do this by encouraging open communication amongst employees and supervisors. Also, employers should set very clear expectations for their employees when it comes to honesty. They should also make it clear what consequences employees will face if they are dishonest. 

If there have been instances of dishonesty, an employer should act quickly. Employers should not be afraid to hold their employees accountable. It is best practice for employers to take allegations seriously and to be thorough in evaluating whether dishonesty has taken place. Employers should also be thoughtful with discipline.

Q: Is dishonesty a crime?

A: Certain types of dishonesty can be in particular situations. The best thing you can do if you think your dishonesty has risen to the level of a crime is to consult with an attorney immediately.

Q: Can you dismiss an employee for lying?

A: Yes. An at will employee can be terminated for any reason, and lying is often a valid basis. An employer may dismiss other employees who are not at will for lying as well, but should look at the specific circumstances of the employment to know for sure if they can.

Q: Is lying to your boss grounds for dismissal?

A: Lying may be grounds for dismissal depending on what the dishonesty was about and what effect it had on the organization.

Need Help with Legal Implications of Dishonesty in the Workplace? Contact Us. 

At The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes, we have extensive knowledge about the legal implications that may come from being dishonest in the workplace. If you are seeking legal advice about what consequences you may be facing, our skilled employment lawyers in NY are ready to help.

How do you know if you should contact us? If you are an employer who has falsified reasons for termination or are an employee who has been the subject of an unfair dismissal, we are here to help. If you have been reprimanded for lying or are guilty of dishonesty, contact us right away. Likewise, if your coworker lied to your supervisor and it resulted in you being fired, we are here to talk about your options. You should also contact us if you are seeking to bring claims for fraud. No matter the circumstances or your position at work, we will be able to help you navigate your situation. 

For example, our attorneys know that to win fraud claims, you must show that a past or existing fact was misrepresented to you or hidden from you, that your employer knew the representation was false, that your employer intended for you to take action when you relied on the false statement, that you reasonably relied on the representation to your disadvantage, and that you suffered damages as a result. Not only do our attorneys know this, but they know how to build a case to meet these elements. They have experience dealing with these kinds of cases and know what evidence will be needed.

The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes

Dishonesty in the workplace can have serious consequences, but you do not need to face it alone. Make sure you have knowledge and experience on your side. Give The Law Office of Yuriy Moshes a call today to explore your options or submit a free consultation form to see how we can help you. Our skilled attorneys are standing by to evaluate your case and assist you through the process.

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