I have an upcoming interview with a government department for a co-op position in my bachelor's degree program. This department retains some people after co-op, so this is the biggest opportunity I've ever had in my whole life.

My worry is that as I asked about earlier on this site on a different account (long story), I got fired from my first real job at an amusement park because I mistook a $5 payment for a tip. This is the link: Fired from 4-month job in which I gained experience and skills working as a cashier and in food service. I did not and do not include this job in my resume, but I am aware that with a background check, employers can find out every job you've had. The reason why I have a different account on this site right now is because it seems I forgot my email for that old account, and my real name is not John Mifed. I don't want to use my real name for such personal questions. It shouldn't matter.

So my question is: if in the interview they tell me to list all of my employment history, should I tell them about this first job at the amusement park (my guess is yes), and should I admit to them about how I got fired near the end of the season, or should I not tell them about how I got fired and hope that they don't/can't find that out? From what I've been told before, employers can legally only say the time period when you worked at the company, but I think that maybe an extensive background check can find out if you were fired, and I don't think all companies would just say the time period you worked for the company - I think some companies may say the person was fired if it is the case.

  • 1
    Are you now a professional in some field? To me it just sounds like some part-time "kid's job" you had. It seems totally irrelevant. However things are sometimes different with government related stuff. If you must live off tax dollars, there are sometimes weird requirements.
    – Fattie
    Feb 17, 2019 at 22:48
  • I don't want to give away too many personal details, but I'm a 3rd year student in a 4-year law degree program (not law school). This was a full-time summer job I had 2 years ago. The interview I have upcoming is for a government law-related full-time position that pays decently and retains some students. Being retained by this corporation would be a dream come true for me.
    – J. Mifed
    Feb 17, 2019 at 23:56
  • I was a co-op for a government agency. It's very important for be honest in your answers, but like @Fattie said I don't see why you're including your cashier experience at all, especially since you were fired. If you were asked to provide your complete work history, then definitely include it, but for a resume you don't have to list every job you've ever had.
    – jcmack
    Feb 18, 2019 at 8:16
  • OP, "From what I've been told before, employers can legally only..." Don't take this the wrong way, but to be honest, considering that you're a few months away from being a member of a bar, surely you would have a far, far better idea of that legal issue than some vague hearsay?????? Why don't you sort that out factually in your jurisdiction??
    – Fattie
    Feb 18, 2019 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


The government background check is trying to do two things - make sure you are trustworthy, and make sure there is nothing you are hiding that would make you vulnerable to blackmail.

should I not tell them about how I got fired and hope that they don't/can't find that out?

But if they do find out you will have demonstrated that you are untrustworthy. The questions will not just where have you worked, they will also ask why did you leave each job and were you been fired.

Depending on the check, they might ask to interview specific people from your family, neighborhood, and jobs.

From what I've been told before, employers can legally only say the time period when you worked at the company

Many companies have this policy to be neutral when a company is providing a background check. But in the United States that isn't a law, it is a company avoiding getting sued becasue they prevented a poor performing person from getting a job. But with a background check being done for a government position they may provide more information regarding why the employee left.

  • Thanks for the answer. So you think I'll have to tell them about this job and how I got fired? Also, I should mention in my case this is all in Canada.
    – J. Mifed
    Feb 17, 2019 at 20:16
  • And so, even if they just say, "tell us about your work experience,", I should mention this job I got fired from? What if they only go through the jobs on my resume and don't ask me a question like that? I know some people didn't mention all their work experience on their resume because some of their work experience is less relevant to the job than others, and the resume is only supposed to be 2 pages long. So if they just go over what's on my resume, doesn't this mean it's okay for me to not mention the job I got fired from, as it's less important to me and less relevant?
    – J. Mifed
    Feb 17, 2019 at 21:23

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