If I was fired for employee theft but no charges were pressed, do I need to disclose this on a new job application?

I was fired for employee theft from my high school job. A year and a half later I need a new job, and am wondering what exactly the procedure is? Should I leave off the job; it was 3 years of experience and there were no charges pressed. Just a paper I had to fill out stating what I did and my reason for discharge was “Dishonesty” not theft.

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your obligation when disclosing employment history or filing out a job application is to be honest; honesty, however, does not necessarily mean telling every detail, but simply being truthful in what you do disclose. One option is to therefore provide a reason that is truthful but as non-damaging as possible. For example: if you do not agree that you committed theft (e.g., say you took some merchandise or applied a discount which you though you were  entitled to, but which your supervisor said you were not), you could characterize the reason for your termination as "violaton of company policy"--that is, the policy in regards to employee discounts or mechandise--not "theft"; or even characterize it as a disagreement over policy which resulted in your termination.

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