Lying it is the new gotcha! The new last straw in taking down the big and powerful. It’s equivalent to the way the Feds use the IRS to take out mafia members; they can almost always get them on tax evasion (what perjury is to lying). Whether good or bad, lying has essentially become a human trait that all of us posses.
If lying has become a pseudo-trait, then why has it become the ultimate crime in the public’s eye? I have spoken about the Lighthouse theory many times. This is where civilization rids or rather controls society enough to eliminate certain crimes and then has to look for new social actions to make a crime to distinguish members of the group. Just think how wearing perfume in the office or sneezing is now a bigger offense.
The outcome of the lighthouse theory turns people against each other and looks for things to distinguish that they are part of the a different group. But it’s not just that they are part of a different group it is that they are part of a BAD group. And when you got nothing to make that other group look bad, then lying becomes that outrageous crime.
Glenn Beck talks about it in his new book Addicted to Outrage. The American public has become addicted to tearing people apart for any little thing. Not much different than centuries ago with gladiators and the like.
Transparency becomes paramount
Since people are looking for any little thing that they can tear organizations apart with, transparency in operations and message must become paramount. Risk managers must choose to do the right thing and they must be transparent in their actions. This is different than Coddling the public. It is laying it out on the table and taking responsibility for mistakes and oversights.
Risk managers can use lying and perjury to their advantage
In an age where lying seems to be the ultimate crime, risk managers should consider how they might use the policy of truth to their advantage. One such area is the claims process. Whether it is employees or the public making claims against the organization, the claims forms should contain statements about making false claims, lying and perjury. This should be highlighted during the intake process and statements should be reviewed for accuracy. Where statements are inconsistence, don’t add up or otherwise are outright false, the organization should hold its boundaries and investigate those statements.
“Perjury, in law, the giving of false testimony under oath on an issue or point of inquiry regarded as material.
Both traditional and modern legal systems have provisions for taking testimony under oath and mandate penalties for giving false testimony. Islamic law, for example, relies heavily on testimony under oath for criminal convictions. The teachings of Muhammad as recorded in the Qurʾān contain clear injunctions against making a false oath and specify penalties when it occurs.
Perjury originally consisted of the giving of false evidence on oath to a court of law, but in the 19th century its definition was expanded to include the giving of false evidence under affirmation to other tribunals that have the authority of the law. Perjury may be committed by witnesses from either the prosecution or the defense (or by witnesses on either side in civil litigation) and in proceedings before the jury or after the verdict in proceedings leading to sentence.
To be guilty of perjury, an accused person must exhibit criminal intent—i.e., the person must make a false statement and must either know the statement to be false or not believe it to be true. In addition, the false statement must be material to the matters at issue in the proceedings; a person normally may not be charged with perjury if the prosecutor has elicited the false testimony solely to obtain evidence for the charge of perjury. A person who makes a false statement but later corrects it has not committed perjury. In many jurisdictions the law imposes special requirements for the proof of perjury; one such requirement is that a person cannot be convicted of perjury on the testimony of only one witness.”