Career advice: Is it legal to require an employee to provide a college transcript?

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Q: After working for one year, a professional employee was required to take a refresher course in his field of study. When this person failed the final exam, his supervisor began to question whether the degree listed on his résumé was valid. Because a degree is required for the position, this employee has now been asked to provide a college transcript. Is that legal?

A: Not being an attorney, I can’t offer legal opinions. However, I can say that when an employer has reason to suspect falsified qualifications, validating that information is the next logical step. This would be especially true for a degree required to meet professional standards.

If you are the person in question, and if you actually did graduate, then you should have nothing to fear. But if you lied on your résumé, you could be in danger of losing this job. Many people have been fired after falsehoods were discovered on their applications.

Of course, the employer is also at fault for neglecting to include a thorough background check in the hiring process. Managers who fail to validate qualifications are every bit as stupid as the applicants who fabricate them.

Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at