Do I have to list US armed service in the "Employment History" section on a job app?

The title pretty much says it all. I’ve read that it’s illegal for private employers to ask about prior military service during job interviews, but in that “Employment History” section of every job application that asks you to list your three most recent jobs, or every job you’ve worked for the last 7 years, etc., do you have to list your active-duty service? Not asking for legal advice, but rather for reliable, cited, relevant laws quoted and commented on at the state and federal levels.

Unless you’re applying for a government job, I’m not sure there’s going to be a whole lot of statutory law on point. In general, failure to disclose relevant information, or providing false information can be considered to be included within the definition of “employee misconduct” for purposes of denying an unemployment claim, at least in my state…but the internal hiring/firing policy of private employers is going to vary widely. Some are more interested in relevant experience, others want to run detailed background checks…

Uh, cite for where it’s illegal to ask about military service? EVERY job application I’ve ever filled out has a section for it.

I’m not sure who you’re responding to, if anyone, Guinastasia, but I’ve never claimed that it’s illegal to ask about military service on a job application. In fact, that’s close to what I’m actually asking about: whether or not it’s legal to withhold military service information on a job application when it’s not explicitly asked for (in the context of listing your most recent employment).

Aside from highlighting a court-martial conviction (which is usually a felony conviction), I have to ask: Why would you not want to list previous military service? I would think most employers would want veterans because of the skills and talent they bring. :confused:

Now, if you’ve got a Bad Conduct Discharge, I can understand why.

No and no. I’d rather not share the details, except to say that it was an exceptionally short tour…but not anything that would (for example) disqualify me from federal student aid. It’s easily explained away but I’d rather not bring it up with the prospective employer.

Well, I don’t know about a requirement to list it, but IME prospective employers are going to ask about the gap in employment if you leave it off. (Not that I have ever been in the military, but I did have a 2-month gap between jobs once.)

I’m a college student who’s never had another paid job in my life. The gap would be between my birth and my next day of employment, which doesn’t raise too many eyebrows.

Uh-oh. Did you ask or did you tell? Sorry, just kidding. I know that your application will almost certainly have you sign a little disclaimer saying that you understand taht you will be fired if you lie on it. That would include leaving off an employer you had in the timeframe specified. OTOH, it’s not likely that they will ever know, if you leave it off. It’s not like they’re going to cold-call the DoD to see if you ever served.

It was actually kind of kinky–I both asked and told. At the same time.

Seriously, though, I’ll probably just write it down in the box. The employer in question hires students almost exclusively, so I’m sure he’s hired people with shadier pasts than myself. :smiley:

The assumption in the OP is incorrect. According to the state (MA) and federal employment law posters in our break room, it is perfectly legal for an employer to ask a job candidate if he/she is a veteran of the US Armed Forces, and what their service history is. The employer may not ask what kind of discharge they received however. I don’t have a better cite than what the posters say, but they are the standard mandated posters that have to be up somewhere in the workplace.

About the ‘law’ that says past employers can not discuss negative things that happened, how true is that?

When I was a recruiter, I would have at least two calls a week from prospective employer that would ask about discharges, etc.

Yes, if you list you were in, for let’s say four months, and you are not in anymore, it will definitely raise questions. Now if you disclose this, they might ask for your DD214 (discharge papers), which have a code on it stating type of discharge. So even if the words ‘General Discharge’, ‘Administrative Seperation’, ‘Medical Reasons’, next to it will be the code. With that code, an employer can get more details. And to be honest, if it is not a good one (marijuana positive urine test), most recruiters will be quick to point it out.

So, no legal advice here at all. BUT if you are legally allowed to leave out some past jobs (fudging a resume happens all of the time), go for it.

Not true at all, though some employers decline to say anything negative about a past employee to avoid litigation. Many will only say A. the dates you were employed and B. whether or not you are eligible for re-hire.

I keep coming across websites that have lists of legal and illegal questions that employers may ask of prospective employees. They seem consistent in that potential employers may ask about military service, but may not ask about the type of discharge one received.

Such as:

It also appears to be illegal for an employer to discriminate against a member or former member of the armed forces because of that person’s service in the military:!OpenDocument

Hope that helps.

drat. Let’s try this.

They usually ask you to account for your time. That would be employment, school, took off for six months to backpack through Europe, spent time caring for an ill child or parent, whatever. If you choose to not account for the time, they may choose not to hire you.