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Should You Tell on a Coworker Who Lied About Qualifications?

Should You Tell on a Coworker Who Lied About Qualifications?

By Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

I am meant to sign my contract for a new job on this coming Wednesday. When the manager sent the email to me today, it was also sent to a number of people, as we will all be signing our contracts for positions of coordinators for an educational institution. I know someone on the list (say X) who did not have a degree few years ago in 2005. The likelihood that she has a degree now is very slim. One of her very close relative whom I also worked with before had cheated on her qualification. This seems to run in the family.

My manager did not seem to have thoroughly checked the qualifications of all of us. I am seriously in doubt if X has a degree and is liable for such a position. I have worked with colleagues who were not qualified before and have found it to be very depressing. I would not want to have this situation happen again.

What should I do? Should I email my manager and ask him to conduct a thorough check of all of our qualifications? Should I remain silent ? If I should email my manager, how do I approach him? How should I start the email ? Should I call him instead ?

You should do nothing.

You don’t even know for sure that the person doesn’t have her degree. The person didn’t have a degree three years ago, you think chances are “slim” that she has received one since, and one of her relatives lied about her own qualifications. This is hardly conclusive. (“This seems to run in the family”? Come on.)

Besides, even if you did somehow know for sure — which you don’t — is a degree even a firm requirement for this position? If so, for all you know, the manager waived the requirement for this person, due to her other qualifications.

More importantly, how does this affect you? If you were, say, doctors, and you knew that the person wasn’t licensed to practice medicine, then the employer could be legally liable for allowing her to do so, and real harm could be caused to patients, and you would have an obligation to speak up. That doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Addressing this with your manager (who you haven’t even started working for, no less) would be unfair, make your judgment look questionable, and generally reflect poorly on you. You should drop this.

What do you think?