Feels like I’m 17 again – wrongful dismissal and doctored ID
There’s an old (and cynical) cliché that all candidates lie on their CV. This became a real issue in the recent case of Otigba v Consensa Care Limited, where the Employment Tribunal considered the dismissal of an employee on grounds of providing false paperwork.
In December 2012, Ms Otigba applied for a bookkeeper job with Consensa. She had a successful interview and was awarded the role.
After Ms Otigba started work, Consensa noticed inconsistencies in the documents she had provided in support of her application. Her criminal records check form gave 15 February 1959 as her date of birth, but her passport gave 15 February 1969. Her medical card showed 14 February 1969, but it seemed that this date was in fact a handwritten alteration of 14 February 1959.
Consensa raised disciplinary proceedings against Ms Otigba, and ultimately dismissed her. This was on the basis that she had obtained employment by using false documents, causing a breakdown of the relationship of mutual trust and confidence.
Ms Otigba raised an Employment Tribunal claim for wrongful dismissal (she did not have the necessary service for an unfair dismissal claim).
The ET was critical of Ms Otigba, noting her “apparent naivety is feigned and is disingenuous”. It observed that if Consensa had accepted she was born in 1969, that “would make the dates given in the CV look congruent with a normal education” by “disguising a lost decade in her life”.
In sum, the ET concluded that “the claimant was guilty of conduct going to the root of the contract of employment and the term of trust and confidence such that the respondent was entitled to summarily dismiss her without the payment of notice”. It therefore dismissed the wrongful dismissal claim.
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