Liar, liar pants on fire

Honesty might be the best policy but 19 per cent of workers admit to lying

Truth in the workplace may be a rare commodity with one in five employees admitting they tell lies at the office at least once a week, according to a recent survey.

Honesty in the Workplace, a survey of 2,050 workers and mangers by, found that 24 per cent of hiring managers have fired an employee for being dishonest.

Fifteen per cent of workers said they were caught in a lie at the office. The top five reasons given for bending the truth at work were:

• To appease a customer (26 per cent)

• To cover up a failed project, mistake or missed deadline (13 per cent)

• To explain an unexcused absence or late arrival (eight per cent)

• To protect another employee (eight per cent)

• To get another employee in trouble or to look better in front of a supervisor (five per cent)

"It may seem cliché, but honesty is the best policy," said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president HR at

"Even if you are motivated by the best of intentions, being deceitful can seriously compromise your credibility with colleagues and negatively impact your career progress. The vast majority of hiring mangers — 85 per cent — said they are less likely to promote an employee who has lied to them or other members of the organization."

The most common lies workers reported telling at the office include:

• I don't know how that happened (20 per cent)

• I have another call to take or I'll call you right back (16 per cent)

• I've been out of town or out sick (10 per cent)

• I like your outfit or you look great (eight per cent)

• I didn't get your e-mail, voice mail or fax (eight per cent)

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