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Q&A: Would particularly like the opinion of a lawyer or HR person re telling “white lies” to employers, is it legal?

Question by hacking is illegal: Would particularly like the opinion of a lawyer or HR person re telling “white lies” to employers, is it legal?
Things are so over the top with “full and open disclosure”, etc these days, including ones personal life, I just wondered about a few scenarios.

1. Lets say for instance a General Manager of a company is divorced and joins an expensive dating agency and meets a new partner there. Whoever he answers to (his boss) and all the staff at his company, are told by him, when they ask where he met his new partner, that he’s met this lady through friends, or some such other “white lie” as he doesn’t want to say he went to a dating agency or dating website. Can he get into trouble for “lying” or “breach of trust” if it’s ever found out he in fact didn’t meet the lady through friends at all?

2. Employee wants to leave the company so they “lie” to their employer and ask to leave early as they feel sick or ask for time off to go to the dentist, etc, but really they are going to a job interview. Once they resign, when they get the new job, can they be seen as a “dishonest” and perhaps be dismissed instead of being able to resign? Everyone tells these “white lies” to get a new job, but some employers are just being so over the top with honesty these days, I wonder if any would actually get huffy and officially accuse you of dishonesty?

3. Employee is going through a trial separation or other personal family problem (perhaps one of their kids is on drugs or something and there is nothing in his employment agreement stating that you have to mention drugs, unless it’s relating to you personally), do they have to reveal this to their employer, even if asked? Including if they are asking to leave work early to deal with something in regard to this? Or is it ok to “white lie” about the reason for wanting time off? Stating something like “I have a family or personal problem I need to leave early for” could just invite unwanted questioning so most would prefer to do the “going to the dentist” routine. And if they are undergoing a trial separation but haven’t told their employer they have changed their address, is that wrong?

Best answer:

Answer by Judy
A lie is a lie. But if it has nothing to do with business, it’s none of the employer’s business. In your example 1, it’s absolutely none of their business. In 2, yes it’s business related, but you’re right, is so common that most employers wouldn’t even ask. In 3, they should say that they need to leave early to deal with a personal issue, and if more questions are asked, say it’s personal. And the employee has no requirement to tell his boss about a trial separation.

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