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Well this is an embarrassing question. I was fired for just cause from my last job. Most job openings have a section on the application form for reason for leaving last job.

I don't believe I was justly terminated and am looking into disputing it with the labor board. Just cause is for severe situations like stealing from the company, which I didn't. Where I live it's not employment at will, and a company can save paying severance fee if they terminate someone for just cause. However, the "pro bono" legal advice I got is, the company is aware it would cost more in legal fees to file for dispute than could be won, and they're betting no one will do so. Apparently they fired a lot of people around the same time, my friend was fired for going home sick.

Also I had already been looking for new work before I was fired.

So without lying, what's the best reason I could give for leaving my past job? Should I put I may have been unjustly terminated, or that I had been looking for work before it happened? Should I just say fired or would it be lying if I don't add "for just cause"?

  • You said you live in a place where employment is not "at will." Therefore you probably don't need to say "for just cause" - it would be implied based on the fact that they couldn't have fired you without it. That said, Snow's answer is spot-on. You should still be prepared to answer questions about what the reason was (because they'll probably ask) even if you choose not to volunteer it. – Steve-O Mar 5 '18 at 14:13
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Yes, you should be honest and upfront about it, but make it clear that you're using this experience to move yourself forwards in a positive way.

There's a good article about this on Monster.com (and probably other job advice sites too):

Alice explains it this way: "I was fired after a major reorganization. The merging of different cultures had caused a major change in the way things were done. There were some differences of opinion between my boss and me. In the end, I was let go. I take responsibility for my part in the way things turned out. I learned a lot from the experience, and in retrospect, I would have handled it differently. But that is behind me now, and I am ready to move on with a new perspective."

This answer demonstrates strength and self-confidence. Alice takes responsibility and deals with the question honestly.

The key thing is taking whatever the "just cause" is on the chin and turn it into a self-improvement plan going forwards, even if you believe it's not your fault. You can of course declare that you're in the process of disputing the dismissal, but you can't lay all the blame on your old employers (its generally bad form to bad-mouth a previous employer)

  • +1 sometimes it's just best to play the 'I'm a repentant human being doing the best I can and will humbly submit to the directive of my corporate overlords' card. They don't need to know you're disputing the firing. – LeLetter Mar 6 '18 at 23:10

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