Once again qualification fraud is a topic for discussion, and it has been seen that fraud can indeed have a significant impact on contracts of employment. Both employers and employees need to be transparent and honest in their dealings with each other to maintain the trust and validity of the employment contract.

Sonya Skipp, General Manager of iFacts says, “Falsifying transcripts or claiming to have received a degree from an institution that is not accredited or does not actually exist can have serious consequences, for both the individual who engages in it and for the organizations and individuals who rely on the authenticity of the qualifications. For the individual, using fraudulent qualifications can lead to legal consequences, including fines, a criminal record and even imprisonment. It can also result in loss of reputation and damage to one’s career opportunities. On the other hand, organizations that rely on the authenticity of qualifications can suffer financial losses, legal consequences, and damage to reputation if they unknowingly hire an individual with fraudulent qualifications”.

Skipp reached out to Derrick Thalavirsan of HR Support Services to discuss the labor implications for employers who said that any instances of fraud should be reported and dealt with promptly to prevent further harm and to protect the rights of all parties involved.

Thalavirsan went on to say, in a recent case in the High Court (Umgeni Water v Naidoo and Another (11489/2017P) [2022] ZAKZPHC 80 (15 December 2022) involving a demand for restitution by an employer (Umgeni Water), from an employee who had earned a salary over several years; the employee had been employed based on a claim to a qualification that he did not hold. The Company won the case and was granted relief of over R2m. This is arguably a seminal ruling, in that it sets a definitive precedent concerning the veracity of claims to qualifications.

Employers should also be wary, however; being right does not automatically equate to justice. The fact remains that litigation is expensive and time-consuming. Companies will be required to deploy significant resources towards gaining restitution in such matters, even though a simple solution was available.

Thalavirsan was adamant – the solution is a robust vetting procedure.

To be clear, re-invention of the wheel is not required; we’re talking here of a rudimentary recruitment procedure, which includes the usual components of current job profiles, advertisements, interview processes, reference checking, and, crucially, qualification verification.

Qualifications verifications are imperative which, if done properly obviate a host of potential ills, not least of all the employment of someone that is not suitable.

Derrick Thalaivirsan

HR Support Services

www.hrssza.com

iFacts can verify all qualifications, contact us for further information.

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