Should an employee be terminated if false documentation is discovered?

A 15-year employee worked under a false social security # and false green card. He’s now acquired legal status and has provided HR with his new social security # to update his file. It has now been established that he’s been working illegally all these years. What are the proper steps to take next as an employee?

Posted  11-09-2011

Ann Kiernan replies:

Wow! Fifteen years under a false identity! But, believe it or not, no law requires an employer to fire an employee who initially provided false documentation, and then later presented legitimate documentation.

Does your employee manual state that providing false documentation or information is a violation of your policies? Have you consistently enforced that policy? If so, termination certainly sounds appropriate. You could also report the faker to the Social Security Administration and the immigration authorities for using counterfeit documents, which may have been the products of identity theft.


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About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.