The Importance of Being Earnest

10 07 2010

Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” No where is that more evident than in applications for jobs and professional licenses.

A recent example

Consider, for example, the school teacher whose disciplinary case was heard last month at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The teacher was accused of failing to maintain appropriate boundaries and/or having inappropriate physical contact with students on three separate occasions. He resigned his position in lieu of being fired and then he applied for a job at another school district. He allegedly failed to disclose to the new district that he was under investigation for his actions at the previous one.

The judge’s ruling

At the conclusion of the SOAH hearing, the Administrative Law Judge found that the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) had not proven that the teacher failed to maintain appropriate boundaries or had inappropriate physical contact with any of the students on any of the three occasions. Therefore, the judge concluded that SBEC could not discipline the teacher for those incidents.

The kicker

But there’s more to the story. The judge also found that the teacher had misled the new district when he failed to disclose that he was under investigation for those incidents. And the judge concluded that the SBEC could discipline the teacher for that dishonesty.

The moral is this. When applying for a job or professional license, always tell the truth. Always.