I started working as an administrative assistant in Wisconsin through a staffing agency in March, and one morning in June (about 3 months in), I got a call from my agency coordinator and was told that the client had asked to terminate my employment. This was the day after I outed myself as gay in a casual conversation with my boss. Should I include this job on my resume? Other useful details:

  • Immediately before this job I had worked in a hotel for about 2 months
  • Before the hotel job, my last job was 2 years in a student position that ended in August 2017
  • I'm looking to apply for general clerical positions and school paraprofessional positions

I'm wondering if I should include this position on my resume. On one hand, it's probably the best example of clerical experience that I have, and without it my recent employment history looks somewhat sparse. On the other, I'm not sure how 3 months at a job would look on the resume and I'm somewhat worried about what my ex-boss would say if called for a reference. Other than consistently arriving a few minutes late (which was never treated as an issue), I never had any performance-related issues. My ex-boss, however, seems pretty vindictive and I'm worried that she might make something up.


4 Answers 4


First, let me address the discrimination part.

It's a good deal harder to prove discrimination that one might think. A friend of mine has MS. He was not fired for MS, he was fired for attendance. I have autism, I was not discriminated against for having autism, I wasn't a "good fit". I have many more examples. Most companies know how to play the game now, so unless you have someone on record as having said "I'm getting rid of Boopbop because I hate gay people", you're not going to win this.

If you are concerned about a reference, have a friend do a verification of employment call, and see what they say. Again, unless the company is immeasurably foolish, they'll say "Boopbob worked here for three months" and little else.

As to whether you should include it, it depends on whether you trust a good reference to come from them or not. 3 months is sort of borderline. If you can stand on the strength of your resume, then you can leave it off.

Going forward, and going back to discrimination, here is what I've learned over the years.

Work as if they are looking for an excuse to fire you, act as if they are looking for a reason to promote you

That is the best way you can protect yourself. Be better than everybody else. Arrive early, leave late, work hard. That way, if one employer discriminates, you'll have such good habits and work history that the next one will appreciate you.

It's a sad fact, but discrimination exists. The ones who do it know how to hide it, so you have to pretend it doesn't exist if you want to do well. That's what I try to do, at least. The good news is that they are in the minority.

  • I could be wrong but if the employer gives OP a bad reference in retaliation for coming out as gay, couldn't that be grounds to sue? Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 20:29
  • @AffableAmbler who's going to be dumb enough to do that? Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 20:32
  • 4
    A bad reference could be a reason to sue. For that reason, US employers tend to limit themselves to "the candidate worked as an X from Y to Z". Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 20:33
  • @AffableAmbler Only if you can prove that this was the reason.
    – G_B
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 2:18
  • 4
    In the US, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation isn't illegal except in a few states. In my state, for example, an employer could literally write "I fired Boopbob because he's gay and I hate gay people" and you still wouldn't be able to sue for discrimination because discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal. Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 2:53

I'm very sorry to hear you suffered from such discrimination.

Inferring from your question that your actual employer (the name on your paycheck) is the staffing agency, there's nothing unusual or alarming about someone taking short term temp assignments while looking for a full time job. You should list them anyway, rather than their client you were assigned to, since the client's may likely say we've never heard of that person if someone did actually do a check. And the agency would be foolish to divulge details about their clients and do more than confirm you are on their roll.

Did you actually terminate your relationship with the agency and inform them you will not accept new assignments? Did they terminate their relationship with you and tell you they will not contact you with new assignments?

You can just put something like

Temporary Staffing, Agency XYZ, March 2018-Present:

Relevant tasks performed and skills demonstrated during temporary assignments: A,B,C

No need to say anything at all about their specific clients or the duration of any given assignment.


You should include the administrative assistant work experience on your resume. Given that you are working with a staffing agency, short-term contracts/positions are fairly common. Your contract could be terminated even if you performed well in your role, but the company no longer has a need for that role or the responsibilities were absorbed.

I do not recommend including your LGBT status or similar personal information (religion, martial status, ethnicity, disability, etc) that may subject you to discrimination on your resume. You should absolutely be proud of who you are, but I do not recommend adding additional information that does not add to your candidacy. This additional information may decrease your chances of landing a position. Discrimination can be very difficult to prove so it's important to protect yourself.

I recommend vetting companies for their culture prior to joining such as searching their website for company supported affinity groups and using HRC's Best Places to Work 2018 as a litmus test. While there might not be state protections for LGBT status in your state, there may be company-level guidelines that prevent discrimination against LGBT employees. But because you're employed to a staffing company, you might not be subject to the same protections as a full-time employee, you could however still file a complaint against that manager.


I (male) don’t mention on my CV that I’m married to a woman. You (male) shouldn’t mention on your CV that you are married to or in a relationship with a man. It has nothing to do with your work.

From a practical point of view, you might apply to a company with one single homophobic person, who happens to work in HR and throws your CV away, when you could have got the job and worked there without problems. Putting it in your CV means you can easily become the victim of prejudice at any stage of the hiring process. If you don’t mention it then your qualities have a chance to overcome prejudice. And of course there is a good chance that the final decision maker is free of prejudices.

  • 3
    This question is whether she should include the position on her resume, not whether she should include her LGBT status on her resume.
    – Ben Mz
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 17:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .