How to Handle An Employee Who Lies

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2019

Who they are: How to Handle An Employee Who Lies - Everyone tells a little white lie now and again but a dishonest worker is something else entirely; as their manager, it can be a very delicate situation to handle.

Dishonest employees may tell lies about their whereabouts, make excuses as to why they couldn’t get to work on time, blame others for their lack of productivity, take the credit away from other people when they haven’t done the work themselves and even lie outright about certain situations.

I’ve heard stories of managers who have had employees lie to them about family bereavements or imaginary surgeries that meant they needed a week off work with very little notice. The employee obviously isn’t worried about bad karma! In more extreme cases, a dishonest employee may steal from the company, at which point you need to part ways. The stealing may or may not be in their true nature but they have overstepped a line and you can never trust them again.

What to do: The difficulty in handling an employee who lies about their outside activities is that you cannot legally investigate his or her claims outside the place of employment; you can’t legally ring around the hospitals in your area, for instance, trying to find out if he or she really is having that hernia repair. You may be suspicious based on his or her previous behaviour, but you can only investigate cases of deception or dishonesty as they relate to the office or work environment. The first thing you should obviously do if the employee claims they are ill is to demand a doctor’s note and follow up on it. But what can you do if they lie about other things that you cannot ascertain?

How should you deal with someone who consistently tells lies or stretches the truth?

  • First, separate fibs or a little white lie (mostly harmless) from a more serious lie that will need to be tackled. You can, for instance, give a little bit of leniency to your good performers who only occasionally stretch the truth. If they exaggerate about the delays on their way into work once in a while, it’s probably not a sacking offence. Employees may tell fibs to save face or to save their relationship with you.
  • Only you can decide when the lying is chronic enough or serious enough to have to tackle. Someone who repeatedly comes in late and always has an excuse or who continually tells lies about the work he or she has done cannot be allowed to continue in their deception.
  • You are going to need to sit down with them and discuss the issue. Before you have the discussion, however, you are going to need to investigate and gather as many facts as you can. You should plan the meeting ahead of time, preparing what you will say, what the response might be and what your counter response will be in return. Be prepared for an emotional reaction and have your facts and evidence ready to produce. If the deception is serious, you may need to take legal advice.
  • Always confront the employee in private and be upfront; don’t hint at the problem or insinuate what the issue is. State the problem, briefly and succinctly and then allow the employee the chance to state their case. Consider what they say carefully. You may want a HR manager to sit in on the meeting.
  • If you are keen to keep the employee and ‘turn them around’, you need to try to come to a mutual agreement moving forward. It may be that the employee can shed some light on why they have been acting the way that they have that goes some way to explaining or offering a solution to the problem.
  • Be sure to state clearly what the consequences will be if nothing improves. You could mention suspension or termination. If he or she continues to tell lies and claim credit where it is not due, you may have no choice but to start termination procedures.
  • Make sure you document the entire conversation. If this is the first time you have had to speak to the employee and it is not a very serious offence, it doesn’t have to be a formal note as yet. Write a note to yourself reminding you of the discussion and agreements that were made and keep it somewhere safe where you can refer back to it if necessary. If the problem continues, you will need to make this documentation formal.

Dealing with employees who lie is never easy. Try to avoid using the L word in your discussion if you can; he or she will no doubt rear up at being called a liar, even if it is true! Always create a positive and honest work environment to counteract the opportunity or need to lie to you; be truthful with your staff, never lie to them and make it clear that you expect the same in return. Encourage them to tell the truth on all matters.

If you suspect many of your team are lying to you, you need to ask yourself why. Could it be that your management style is so severe that they never want to get on your bad side, or they are even scared of telling you the truth? If that’s the case, you are the one who is going to need to change.

If a worker is found to be stealing, that is usually an immediate sacking offence and may even involve calling in the police. Speak to your immediate supervisor or HR immediately that you discover the truth and seek legal advice on what to do.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.