Should you fire an employee who lies?

It is obviously and commonly known that employers want their team members to be honest with them and if an employee is caught lying termination is usually the next step.

But should you fire an employee who lies? Is firing an employee who lies always is the best course of action to take? This article will provide informational alternatives to terminating a dishonest employee and provide the questions an entrepreneur should ask when faced with this problem.

This is an issue that should be thought out carefully, especially if the team member in question has been with the company a long time and has in turn received valuable training that costs the company money.

Most employers understandable assume that if an employee is caught lying that they will eventually be dishonest with them again, but perhaps a more detailed investigation about why they lied in the first place should be performed. There is a chance that the employee felt pressure to exaggerate or stretch the truth on a certain topic because they feared for their job or some other similar situation. A further investigation may provide useful insight into how your employees view how things are run and may shed light on how to make changes to make your team members feel more open to communicating to their superiors.


One of the first questions you should seek to find an answer when you are thinking should you fire an employee who lies is why did the person lie? Whenever the indiscretion is revealed a meeting should be organized with the employee in question in private. This way you can create an atmosphere where the employee will feel more open, comfortable and less at the judgment of their peers and in turn increase your chances of finding out the root cause for their dishonesty.

Their reasoning behind their lie may be one of miscommunication, a slight error in judgment, or some other minor offense. An explanation of what it is you expect out of your employees may be an easier and cost effective way of changing the employee’s behavior and may in fact increase their performance in order to prove themselves to you. This is a technique that will show the particular employee and the rest of your team that you are willing to work with them and provide the tools to increase their productivity.

Another factor in deciding whether or not to keep the employee on the payroll is the seriousness of the lie. This is one of the biggest and important factors that need to be considered in this process. If the lie exposed your business or impacted the company in a negative way then it would be highly inappropriate to keep the employee in question on staff. If the team member lied about performing a required regulatory task or their dishonesty had a negative effect on other employees in the company then termination is usually necessary. Keeping an employee that has created mistrust in their working peers with only create mistrust and diminish their confidence in you has an employer. In cases such as these termination is recommended.

Do you believe the lie to be part of a pattern or a one-time error in judgment? The answer to this question will be a major deciding factor in the employee’s future with your company. If you believe the person to be someone who lies often or is just a person who is susceptible to lying then they should no longer be a part of your team. Even if the lie is a small one you do not want to give them the chance to continue to lie to you again and run the chance of the lies becoming more serious and harmful to you and your employees.


If you believe that this indiscretion to be one time mistake then the chances of correcting the mistake and explanation of why this behavior is unacceptable to you are much higher. Everyone makes mistakes and if you take the time to sit down one on one with the team member and provide explanations of why this cannot happen, it is unlikely that they will make the same mistake again.

One of the biggest questions you will have to ask is do you feel that you can trust the employee again? This is question that only you can individually answer but probably the biggest deciding factor of this process. This is an intuitive call that has to be made with your gut. If you feel there is the slightest chance that this incident will occur in the future than termination is your best course of action.

The last thing that you should consider in this decision is how you feel it will affect the other members of your team. This is the decision that will carry on into your future relationships with the people you work with and should be considered heavily. It is crucial that other employees do not think that you feel lying is acceptable, and you definitely do not want to lose the confidence of your team. If you make the decision to keep an employee who has lied than an apology or recognition of the mistake should be made in front of everyone who was affected by their dishonesty.

There will most definitely have to be some form of repercussion if you intend on keeping this employee. Other disciplinary option is demotion. This will show the employee and other team members that there are consequences to being dishonest with you. This will also give the employee the chance to prove themselves again to you and you can judge from there how much they want to show themselves as valuable to your business. This is a good way to send a message to the rest of your employees and in some cases is a better option than termination for this reason.

So whenever faced with a dishonest employee and you are thinking should you fire an employee who lies, it would be wise to consider the options listed in this article. You can very easily end their employment for their offense or try to turn their indiscretion into an opportunity to create a more loyal team member and showcase your willingness to work with your team to other employees. In some cases it is necessary to fire the dishonesty employee but before taking action you should sit down and ask yourself these questions and consider some of these options before reaching your final decision.