Case Update: What can an employer do upon discovering that an employee lied in a job application?

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In this Case Update series, I share summaries of recent Malaysian court decisions to explore the current approach taken by the courts when deciding on employment-related issues. You can find all the posts in the series by clicking here, including case updates on other legal areas by TheMalaysianLawyer co-founder Lee Shih.

The hiring process can often be tricky for employers. In the Malaysian job market, it is common for employers to receive hundreds of applications for certain vacancies. Employers then have to comb through these applications, shortlist candidates to be interviewed, and make a hiring decision based on fairly limited information.

To reduce the time spent on this process, many employers do not conduct thorough background checks on job applicants. The experience and employment history stated in the applications are often assumed to be accurate, with some allowance given for an expected reasonable degree of exaggeration.

What is the recourse for an employer who, soon after hiring an individual, realises that the employee had lied in his job application? Does this false information constitute just cause for an employment termination, or will the dismissal enable the employee to bring a successful unfair dismissal claim?

The Industrial Court considered these issues in two recent awards — Khoo Kim Loang v. Shock Media Studio Sdn Bhd (Award No. 51 of 2018) on 4 January 2018, and Khoo Kim Loang v. Kim Siah Electric Co Sdn Bhd (Award No. 137 of 2018) on 12 January 2018 — interestingly both involving the same Employee.

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3 ridiculous mistakes you shouldn’t be making in your job application

The second half of year is always peak period for job applications at law firms. At various times during this period, we will receive applications from local or overseas graduates, as well as those who have passed their CLP or UK Bar exams. Whenever this time of year comes around, I’m always shocked at some of the appalling job applications that I see — and it’s not just me, many fellow employers or recruitment partners share horror stories and regularly ask “how on earth did this person pass law school?”

For the benefit of current applicants, here are 3 ridiculous errors that you really shouldn’t be making:

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Law firm job applications and interviews — bootcamp with Office Parrots

On 29 September 2015, I was the featured speaker at a Career Kickstarter Bootcamp, organised by Office Parrots at Brickfields Asia College.

The two-hour event attracted a full-house crowd, made up of students pursuing their law degree and CLP.

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