Do I list an employer on my resume/ job application who has been horrible to work for?

I've been going back and forth on how to deal with this. To make a long story short, I was a personal assistant for a man who is a sole proprietor and whose first and last name appears in the title of his company. He treated me inappropriately; so much so that I basically had to quit without notice. Now that I am applying for more jobs and thus filling out various generic applications, should I include this position and list the reason why I left? I felt he was sexually harassing me, but I never took action, so if I word my reason for leaving in a negative way, is that slanderous? Or, should I just simply omit the job from my application/ resume completely and risk being accused of lying if someone does a background check?


I only worked for this person for 4 months.

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Absolutely. You want to be completely honest on your resume and job application regarding your empoyment history.

    If you omit this job from your application, and this is discovered by someone in Human Resources:

    *during the hiring process -> you will automatically be eliminated from consideration for the position you applied for.

    *after getting hired -> the employer has the right to fire you on the spot as soon as the omission is discovered.

    The reason this is so serious is because you are expected by any competent employer to be completely truthful on the job application and throughout the interview process. In fact, if you examine the "fine print" on any job application, it will state in the area right before your signature that you vow the information you provided is, to the best of your knowledge, "true and complete". Any information found to the contrary would be considered a violation of the employment contract.

    Don't assume by omitting the information you "risk" being accused of lying. It isn't a risk at all. They will find it! It is routine and fairly easy for potential employers to obtain information regarding your employment history, and leaving this information out will stick out like a sore thumb!

    This is beyond your original question, but I feel the need to mention something else that is very important! It is a DEFINITE no-no to speak negatively of a previous employer on a job interview. I can certainly appreciate the terrible experience you had with this fruitcake former boss, but the job interview is NOT the time to air your grievences!

    The reason is, in the mind of the employer, if a candidate speaks negatively of his former company, and we hire him/her, someday he/she will leave us and speak badly of us to a future employer. Even if you are 100% correct about your mistreatment, it is considered unprofessional to express anything negative about a former employer! It practically guarantees you won't be hired.

    So how do you answer questions re: your ex-boss? With an absence of venom. Don't mention sexual harrassment. Do your best to explain what happened in a dispassionate way as generally as possible. Then focus on the future. Try to end your answer with something you've learned from the experience and will implement on your next job. I understand how that might feel like you're letting him off the hook, or not being completely honest, but you've got to present that the incident was in the past, I've learned, and I've moved on. Anything less than that will likely reduce, if not eliminate, the possibility of being re-hired by a much better company.

    Sorry this is so long, but I hope this is helpful, and best wishes.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I've had similar issues -- well, not sexual harassment, but I mean where I've felt the need to leave a place rather suddenly... and then have to explain it later. You are not required to list anything specific on your resume, or in any particular order, or with any particular details. Your resume is your personal thing. But it will look funny if you have this big blank of time in there. I leave things off my resume (and off applications), but not when it creates huge gaps in time to be explained.

    Things *do* happen on jobs that can be complicated to explain to prospective employers. If they are reasonable people, they should know everything is not in our control and that stuff happens which is not our fault. I don't put on resumes why I left, but applications usually ask for it, and I write "to be discussed." I'd advise against the "irreconcilable differences" because I think it will look bad, and could imply just about anything. I could pretty well say I had irreconcilable differences at nearly every job I've ever left! (i.e. so what -- it doesn't mean anything.) When they ask why, I'd be honest in a case like this.

    If some place really seriously can't understand sexual harassment, then perhaps you don't really want to work for them? As for being slanderous, unfortunately with this sue-happy world we live in, yeah it could be if they can prove some kind of harm. But I don't see how this is harm, especially since you *could* have taken action and didn't even do it. If they ask for details in an interview, you could say either that you find it too personal to discuss and hope they can respect that, or you could even say you have a fear of it being slanderous and would rather not say more. You can try to get away with not saying why, and just say there were issues of a personal nature that you feel you can't discuss, and hope they'll take that as sufficient. The longer your work record, and the better it looks, the easier it is to deal with one bad situation like this.

    BTW, the last job I left rather suddenly did not have the owner's name in the company name, but it was a well-known family business in the area, and I didn't have to say any names. But still -- I did try to say some minor things without getting too terribly negative and without blaming some person in particular. Not long later, they went out of business, so it was much easier to just say they were going down the tubes and I wanted out before they took me with them. :-)

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  • I had to leave a company before because I felt as though I was working for a cult, and I believed that sooner or later I would end up on a secret island sipping a magical death potion lol...

    Even though you only worked for them for 4 months its still past work experience. Also some companies ask you to explain periods of unemployment. The best way to handle this is to list it on your resume. Why...You might ask. Simply due to the fact that listing this past place of employment is listing your skills, which is useful in employment. Your position as a personal assistant is very valuable, and shows that you are great with with ppl, can handle mutiple tasks under pressure, yet still have flexibility . Why would you leave that off just because you didn't see eye to eye with your superior. Leaving this important job off your resume would only make you appear as if you have something to hide...thus lose credibility and risk never being hired.

    Now what should you say...there are an array of answers to the question. Why are you/ did you leave your last position? But one of my personal favorites you could use is "Well I have set some goals for myself, and there wasn't any opportunity for advancement in the position that I was in. I would like to achieve the goals I set forth so that I can continue to enhance professionally." Now to back this up I wouldn't recommend you list your superior as a reference. Use co-workers or someone else that you reported to for references. Hopefully this helps and don't stress too much.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You only have to list your old employer if your next potential employer asks you to do a complete Job History.

    On your resume, you can choose what you want to present to an employer.

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  • woody
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    If sounds like this was a recent part of your job history so you should list your experience with this company. Focus on your responsibilities and how you helped the business.

    Since you left abruptly this could be viewed as a negative but you just need to indicate you felt that was the best course of action for you at the time. In a small firm like that who could you go to with a claim of harassment anyway. It could be a touchy topic during the interview but i am presuming you did nothing to encourage the behavior and had your justifiable reason to leave.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It depends. How much of a gap would there be if you left it off. If we're talking a month, leave it out and say you were jobhunting. If it's a couple years, then you'll have to leave it in. If asked about why you left, just say the job wasn't a good fit and that you want to advance your career which wasn't possible there.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Most companies now days do a social security check to see if you have listed all the companies you have worked for in the past. I would definitely list it! And I would put down why you left as personal reasons. Just be vague unless they specifically ask you why. Good luck with your endeavors!

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  • 1 decade ago

    If you have no proof of your allegations, and especially after the irresponsible way you left the job (i'm sorry but it is, regardless of the situation at least contacting a discrimination board would have given you a leg to stand on as a responsible worker) I would leave him off any future resumes.

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  • When I list jobs on my resume I also include a short reason for leaving. In your case I would list it "Quit - irreconcilable differences"

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