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Pilot used Star Wars character as his reference

Napthens - September 25th 2018

An employment tribunal has recently heard a case bought by Mr M, a former West Atlantic employee, who resigned after it was discovered he used a fake reference.

Mr M applied for a position with West Atlantic as a Captain and as part of the recruitment process he was required to provide a reference. As such he provided the contact details for “Desilijic Tiure”, an alleged former employer. West Atlantic had emailed the email address provided and requested a reference. Mr M is alleged to have responded to this impersonating “Desilijic Tiure” and referred to his past experience as a Captain.

However, later research discovered that Mr M had never worked as a Captain; the highest position he had worked was that of a First Officer. In addition, it was discovered that “Desilijic Tiure” is, in fact, an alternative name for Jabba the Hut, a character in Star Wars. Upon West Atlantic discovering this, Mr M was offered the option to resign with immediate effect on 30 June 2017 or face dismissal for gross misconduct.

Mr M chose to resign but later bought a claim seeking 3 months notice pay, which he alleged he was entitled to under his contract of employment. In response West Atlantic counterclaimed seeking to recoup almost £5,000 in training costs, relying upon a signed agreement which stated that Mr M was liable for the full cost of training should his employment be terminated within the first 6 months.

In the tribunal’s decision, dismissing Mr M’s claim and accepting West Atlantic’s counterclaim, Judge Broughton highlighted the severity of Mr M’s deceit and the potential catastrophic consequences had he flown without having previously undertaken significant training.

This ruling highlights the importance of ensuring that sufficient background checks are carried out and suitable references are obtained. In addition, by having a suitable training cost agreement in place, this allowed West Atlantic to seek their training costs back.

If you need help with making sure your process of checking references is as good as it can be, or want any other advice, speak to a member of the team today.