I spotted an interesting story in the news today about a vice president at Walmart who was forced to resign his position because of a discrepancy in his resume. What I’d like to discuss is the forced resignation over something that has nothing to do with his work performance. Certainly there is cause for the resignation as having false information on your resume brings up the possibility that you got the job through subterfuge in the first place.
David Tovar thought he graduated from the University of Delaware but because of a transcript mistake it turned out he was actually a few credits short. By then he already had his first job and didn’t think it was worthwhile to go back and finish his art degree. He went on to work in the communication field at several places eventually arriving at Walmart eight years ago. He was in the final stages of being promoted to the position of senior vice president when a check revealed the resume discrepancy.
Tovar immediately admitted to the error and is apparently leaving Walmart on good terms. He wanted the job and Walmart refused to give it to him because of the lack of a college degree. He didn’t want to stay in his old position and so resigned.
I’m of two minds on this one. I do think it’s fairly important to be relatively accurate with data on your resume. Most people will alter a date or two to accommodate for time between jobs but lying about whether or not you got a degree is a little more serious. In this case it seems pretty clear to me that Tovar could have gotten his degree if he wanted. That his deceit was fairly minor in that he was a few credits away from his degree. He had largely done the work.
It must be assumed that he was good as his job to have reached the potential level of senior vice president at a company like Walmart. That is a position that certainly carries a salary well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more.
So what we have here is a company refusing to promote someone they truly felt could do the job because of a relatively minor transgression. I’m sure Walmart will justify the move by noting that if they let Tovar continue upward with a false resume they would not have a leg to stand on when trying to fire others for a similar offense. I understand this argument as well but I just think it’s a mistake to let go a talented employee over something that is, in my opinion, so minor. It’s not easy to find good people and when you find them you need to do your best to keep them.
I understand Walmart’s fear that they might be handcuffed in future labor disputes. At least I’m guessing that was one reason for the decision to let Tovar go. Still, the idea that a company cannot keep a talented employee because said employee made a mistake rankles my sensibilities. It seems like someone could have stepped up and taken the responsibility for keeping Tovar although undoubtedly the legal department had their say.
What do you think?
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