Can a job applicant withhold educational information?

After a college degree and 2 yr of graduate work in corporate law, George Robison concluded he wasn't cut out to be a lawyer.


After a college degree and 2 yr of graduate work in corporate law, George Robison concluded he wasn't cut out to be a lawyer. He had worked his way through college doing electrical work, enjoyed working with his hands, and decided to seek a job as an electrician, drop out of the "rat race," and avoid the pressures involved.

Applying for work, Robison figured he'd have a better chance if he concealed his college background. Thus on his employment application he confined his educational experience to high school graduate. Electricians were in demand at the time, and Robison had no trouble landing a job.

After working 10 mo in the maintenance department, trouble developed between the union and management. Arguments and rebuttals were presented at several meetings, some of them heated. Robison was a key debater on the employee team. In General Manager Joe Kelly's view, he was "pigheaded and too abrasive." As the trouble persisted management was increasingly surprised by Robison's sophistication and articulateness. Too advanced for a high school graduate. His background was checked in depth, his college degree and graduate work were revealed. It was also disclosed that he had omitted this information from his employment application.

"If there's one thing we don't need around here it's a shop lawyer fighting the company," Kelly growled. "This guy was hired under false pretenses. It's a clear case of misrepresentation and grounds for dismissal."

He delegated this chore to Plant Engineer Jim Dorfman.

Question : Do you think Robison can -- or should -- be fired for misrepresentation?

Expert's opinion: Dorfman was smart enough not to tackle the task impulsively. He decided to seek Corporate Attorney Phil Blackman's advice on the matter. The lawyer's response wasn't encouraging.

Blackman replied, "Whether or not Robison would have been hired had he told all is moot. More to the point is that he has a good work record unimpaired by his education. Perhaps most significant is management's underlying motivation: To get rid of an effectively militant union member. Like it or not, I think your best bet is to learn how to live with this guy."

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
Industrial wireless cyber security: More complex than black and white; IIoT at the I/O level; Process modeling; Cyber security research
Robotic advances: Software, form factors; System-based ROI; Embedded control; MES and information integration; SCADA and cyber security; Position sensor; Controller, I/O module
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle