'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 6
Fibbing on a résumé. Distorting a past conflict. Political prevarications! We've all been known to be less than truthful at times in our lives, and we hope those little white lies don't turn into black marks on our reputations.
Which lies get told, which get revealed, and which are left to simmer can be a matter of luck so who got lucky this week? Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Lies."
Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):
Alicia and Lucca's latest client (again handed down from Louis Canning) is an employee at a software company who was fired after being subjected to a lie detector test at work, and failing. Little does anyone know that the software company has NSA contracts, and Alicia's search for evidence for client lands her back on the NSA's radar. (Welcome back, goat video-watching weirdos!)
Meanwhile Alicia finally gets around to Jason's background check, Lockhart, Agos & Lee get into trouble for a (non) hire of their own, and Eli is forced to choose whether to reveal some background information he discovered on Peter.
Understandably, employers can get pretty uppity about what prospective hires tell them on their résumés. And Alicia's latest client apparently embellished a little bit on hers. As the episode correctly points out, most employers are precluded from using lie detector tests on their employees, with a few exceptions.
One of those exceptions is for the federal government and businesses with federal contracts. So the software company was probably within their rights to polygraph Alicia's client, who may have been lucky just to be fired: there are cases in which you can get arrested for lying on your résumé.
Legal Fiction:"If you're wearing a wire you have to tell me or it'll be thrown out of court." It's a line we heard a couple times during the episode, but is it true? Well that depends on where you live and who you're recording. Some states (including Illinois) have laws prohibiting recording a conversation without the other party's permission. These laws would extend that protection to the courtroom, meaning that an illegal recording would be inadmissible in court.
But, like all laws, there are exceptions. You do have the right to record the police and you can probably record your teachers or professors. The conversations between Eli and Judge Schakowsky will probably stay out of a courtroom. But, as Diane learned, a recording doesn't have to be admitted as evidence in a court case to be damaging.
Malpractice Insurance: As part of their purchase of malpractice insurance for their fledgling law firm, Alicia and Lucca start digging into Jason Crouse's background. (Wait, are we really supposed to believe that this is the first time Alicia chumhummed Jason? It's 2015!) They're smart to realize that employers can be held liable for their employees' acts, so having a loose cannon on the payroll could be expensive.
Judging by this week's episode, last week's "What do you drink" cliffhanger didn't lead to an Alicia-Jason hookup. So the suspense lives on. As does the question of whether (or when) Eli will tank Peter's presidential campaign. And we'll have to see how Lockhart, Agos & Lee weather the bad publicity (and possible discrimination lawsuit) after turning away a black, female candidate for summer associate. Somebody get Alicia another margarita!
What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.
- Employment and Anti-Discrimination Laws: An Introduction (FindLaw)
- Are Lie Detectors Admissible in Court? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Is It Legal to Spy on Your Employees? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Think Twice Before Giving Workers a Polygraph (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
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