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I resigned from my last-but-one job after 4 months because the hours were insane and as a single mom to 3, I needed to work a normal 9 to 5 with occasional overtime.

So I accepted a job offer with 9 to 5 hours and Fridays until 3pm. I thought it was a dream come true! Wrong!
After a week my boss told me I was not entitled to my break for lunch because he bought the office lunch every day (for me and another paralegal). If I wanted have take lunch away from the office I would have to stay later.

Then he would start screaming matches with the other paralegal and the managing attorney, and speaking to me in an unprofessional disrespectful manner, even yelling.
After the first month my health insurance was to kick in but then he told me he rescinded his offer of medical coverage.

After 3 months working in this hostile work environment, one day, after yelling at me to go get the "fuken file", and yelling at my coworker, he got in her face and I was scared he was about to slap her face so I called the cops. I had never seen him so angry.

Long story short, the cops came and he fired me on the spot.

I am glad I'm out of there. I just want to find a job as soon as possible, but I don't want to put that job on my resume because the cops were involved and it's just to much drama to explain.

(How) should I mention the job on my resume?

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Mention the job, but not your reason for leaving. If asked, "I had an aggressive boss, and at one point had to call the police because I was concerned for a colleague's safety. After that, I couldn't continue working there." –  tobyink Jul 24 at 14:47
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Did you consult an attorney regarding this? Depending on jurisdiction, what he fired you for may not be a legally fireable offense. Also, if you have it in writing that medical was part of the offer, but was subsequently rescinded, again depending on jurisdiction, that's also illegal. You may be entitled to compensation. –  corsiKa Jul 24 at 14:56
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@corsiKa, isn't the order to skip the lunch break also illegal (in the US)? –  Brian S Jul 24 at 15:24

8 Answers 8

Should I put job I was fired from on resume when there was a hostile altercation/police involved

You should attempt to construct your resume in such a way that it puts you in the best light for prospective employers. Thus, you can include or exclude any information you choose.

But leaving this job off of your resume would show a 3-month employment gap that you might have to explain. What would you say when asked "so what have you been doing these past 3 months?"

At that point, either you will lie about what you were doing, or you will be forced to admit that you chose to leave off this last job. Neither seem like a very good alternative.

I think it would be better to include the job. Your resume should not include the reason for leaving each job, nor should it include the fact that you were fired.

But, that leaves you with explaining during an interview why you have held two very short-duration jobs - one that you quit after 4 months, and another from which you were fired after 3 months.

Don't offer much information unless you are asked, but be as honest as you can. If asked, explain what was appealing about the jobs at first, and what made them less appealing shortly thereafter. If asked, explain why you felt the need to leave the first job, and why you felt the need to call the police (at the cost of your job) for the second.

If asked, be ready to explain how you expect to be at your next job for the long haul, and how you have changed the way you assess potential new jobs so as not to make the same mistakes of the recent past.

And this time around make sure the job is a good fit for you and your family, and that you have a much better feel for your boss, your hours, the role you will be filling, etc.

Most employers don't want to hire job-hoppers - no matter what the reason for the hops. You want to come across as someone who made a few unfortunate job choices, but won't make them again. As @Telastyn correctly points out - as part of interviewing, you are telling a story. Make sure it's a great story.

It's possible to recover after two unfortunate job choices in a row, but it's much harder if this becomes a pattern.

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Correct me if I am wrong, You must be one of those who automatically blame an employee for being fired, and who sticks to that blame no matter the facts at hand. I wouldn't want to work for you, if you carry this kind of attitude. None of the terrible bosses I worked for were kind enough to reveal themselves as such during the interview process. And I would start getting the skinny from their staff only .on my first day of the job. I am not a mind reader and neither do I carry a crystal ball. Fortunately, I never was in a situation where I went from one terrible position straight into another. –  Vietnhi Phuvan Jul 24 at 12:49
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@VietnhiPhuvan it's not about blaming the employee, it's about recognizing reality. When hiring people the recruiter is potentially choosing between someone who has worked at the last job for a few years, has excellent references, etc. Then you have someone with lots of short term jobs and who just got fired. All else being equal which of those people is going to get hired? Of course the saving point here is that not all else is equal... –  Tim B Jul 24 at 13:34
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@VietnhiPhuvan Having followed Joe's posts at two SE sites, I am just astounded by that comment. Opening with "correct me if I am wrong", I feel confident saying "you're wrong". –  corsiKa Jul 24 at 16:28
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@VietnhiPhuvan You are confusing Joe's analysis of the situation ("some recruiters will take this poorly") with Joe's personal opinion of the situation ("I would take this poorly"). It's a fact that many hiring managers would take being fired as an automatic negative. That doesn't mean Joe is one of them, but his answer can't ignore that reality. –  Chris Hayes Jul 24 at 16:40
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@VietnhiPhuvan I'm really not seeing your point here or how it's relevant to Joe's answer or your initial comment. Yes, it sucks that some employers do that, and no, they really shouldn't do that. Nobody is arguing otherwise. But that has no bearing on this situation. –  Chris Hayes Jul 24 at 17:21

Did you file a police report? If you ever had to explain why you were fired, the fact that you filed a police report would help tilt the balance of credibility in your favor.

If I were to put in why I got fired, for example, in a prospective employer's HR's application for employment form, under "Reason Why You Left", I'd write "I took the initiative and called the cops as I believed that my boss was about to commit an assault on a fellow employee, for which the boss fired me as soon as the cops left. I filed a police report on him" Obviously, getting fired for this reason has nothing to do with your performance on the job. Which should be reassuring to an employer who might be concerned that your job performance was the issue. And obviously, you NEVER put the reason why you left on any of your resumes - that would clutter them, although from time to time, I have used in my resumes the phrase "until I was laid off" in some context or other.

I think that most employers accept that there are some terrible people who are bosses out there. For example, one of my CEOs had served a year in jail for selling refurbished IBM parts as brand new, among other exploits.

It is ridiculous to think that every time that an employee gets fired, the employee is somehow presumed to be at fault and rightly or wrongly, I suspect that some prospective employers think that way.

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@VietnhiPhuvan - I would just wait to share that information if asked. Its likely I would never be asked the reason I left. –  Ramhound Jul 24 at 13:06

On a purely practical note, lying is likely to get discovered. In the modern connected age a quick Google may well show your last job, in which case this now looks far worse as it immediately shows that you are hiding something.

You should also considering that lying on your CV or in your interview if it is discovered can set you up for immediate dismissal. Some companies have a policy of doing just that even if you have since proven yourself to be a valuable employee.

You are in an awkward situation but it is not lost yet, however all you can do is put the best face on it that you can. Without lying give the bare minimum information and the most positive spin on it that you can.

For example "there was a culture of bullying that I found unacceptable." is true but also far less worrying than "I called the police to my workplace and my boss fired me for it".

If you get asked for more details about it you can just say that you prefer not to go into details and don't think it would be a good idea to start dropping names but a person you were working with threatened you and one of your female co-workers with violence and the management was not doing anything about it so you left to avoid a situation where you felt unsafe.

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First, in the CV I would put just the employment dates and functions.

If it comes to an interview, try to see it from your interviewer point of view:

  • Applicant Naz states that she called the cops in the previous job. His story sounds sensible and should not be an issue for employment, but if I am wrong or she is lying to me and the girl calls the cops for any minimal issue my head will be the next to fall (specially since I was already told that she had called the cops in the previous employment).

  • Applicant B has about the same qualifications. I do not know for sure if he is saner than Naz, but if he calls the cops without motive I can explain that I had no way to foresee that and I will suffer no consequences.

So, I would just say that you were fired because you stood against the bullying happening in your previous job and your boss cheating you (which is a true description of what happened).

In case more detail is demanded and finally you need to explain that you called the police, state that you initially didn't tell about it because it was a very tense an unprofessional situation that you are uncomfortable remembering. It would be nice to have (just in case) a copy of a police report of the incident stating that they found a conflict situation and, in any case, showing that there was a real need for their presence there (bonus points if the report shows witnesses pointing at your boss).

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"cheating on" is definitely the wrong word choice here. –  Ben Voigt Jul 24 at 20:48

The question of 'should' is quite vague. You can include it or not, and it's basically your choice. Each choice has different pros and cons.

The purpose of a resume is to sell yourself as a skilled, experienced, employable professional.

In terms of selling yourself, a gap of several months without employment (which is what you have, if you don't list the job) doesn't look that great. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it will likely raise eyebrows. You should be prepared to answer questions about what you were doing during that time, and you may have to lie if you really don't want to admit to having worked there. That can carry its own consequences if you get found out.

On the other hand, if you list the job but keep everything simple and factual (not in terms of the whole police thing, but in terms of what your roles and responsibilities were, the dates you were there, and so on), that will look better and it's generally unlikely that anyone will actually contact the company to ask about you. Just don't volunteer that employer as a reference, and offer other references who will speak more favorably of you. Of course, someone may contact the company and then you might have to explain the situation. Though like I said, that's relatively unlikely.

In no case should you speak negatively of your former employer when interviewing with a prospective future employer, no matter how bad they actually were. Just keep things calm, factual, and focused on positive subjects.

And always think twice when considering whether or not to call the police to your workplace. There are times when it's the right thing to do. But if you don't have clear evidence of wrongdoing, it's unlikely the police will be able to provide much help and you may end up with only a dramatic scene and a quick firing as a result.

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We may not know the details of OP's situation, if someone is threatening physical violence I believe the police are the best option. Threatening violence is assault, hitting someone is battery. Both are crimes. Police are called to mediate disputes. –  Philip Jul 24 at 5:33
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@aroth while I agree with a lot of what you are saying if one of your colleagues is in danger then just leaving is doing nothing to help them. It all comes back to just how real the threat is though. –  Tim B Jul 24 at 13:07

I wouldn't put this job on my resume. It's only 3 months and a 3 months hole is not uncommon between two jobs (at least in France where I live) so I think it's not worth putting it on your resume.

And if a potential employer asks about this 3 months hole, you can explain him shortly. As you explained here, it seems like it wasn't your fault at all, and your boss was the problem, so a potential employer would understand that.

But if you put it, everytime you go on an interview you'll have to explain why you stayed 4 and 3 months on two consecutive jobs, and even if it seems like it's not your fault, some employers will think you are insubordinate and likely to stay a few months in their company.

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Don't put it on your resume, your time there was too short and it will probably lead to questions and red flags for whoever is looking through your resume. Being unemployed in this economy is not unusual.

Just a word of advice, next time you are hired (funny how a law firm didn't seem to do this) make sure you sign a hiring agreement, i.e. a personnel (HR) type of document that outlines the conditions of your employment. Keep a copy for yourself. This is a legal document that will describe things like: how many hours you need to to work to be considered full time, how often you are paid, how long you need to work to earn benefits, and what happens upon termination (i.e. last check, how much notification is given, if any, and grounds for termination). With such a document outlining your employment agreement, your employer would not have been able to legally deny you health coverage if it was a condition of your employment.

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By request, here is my earlier comment, as a full answer:

Mention the job, but not your reason for leaving. If asked, "I had an aggressive boss, and at one point had to call the police because I was concerned for a colleague's safety. After that, I couldn't continue working there."

The highlighted phrase has a convenient ambiguity:

  • it could mean that you could no longer justify working there to yourself; and
  • it could mean that you were disallowed from working there.

In your case, both are true (I'm assuming of course that if you hadn't been fired, you would have been likely to resign fairly soon anyway), but somebody hearing you say it is more likely to have the former meaning in mind.

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