Does getting fired go on your record? (with examples)

Updated on August 8, 2023
Does getting fired go on your record

Job searchers naturally wonder if getting fired affects their prospects of finding new employment.

They are aware of employers’ ability to perform a background check and more detailed investigation of various records, registries, and databases.

Your potential employer does not have easy access to your employment history with respect to the exact reasons for your termination, like job abandonment or getting fired, unless they speak directly to your former boss.

It’s important to differentiate private employment records retained by companies from general background checks.

Does getting fired go on your background check?

Does getting fired go on your background check

Getting fired does not go on your background check. Employers can screen their potential employees by using the services of background check agencies. These can verify your Social Security number, address history, employment dates, level of education, etc. but won't disclose reasons for termination.

Also, recruiters and company owners can receive reports, based on searches of the National Criminal Database, Sexual Offender Registries, Motor Vehicle Records, and more.

Your prospective employer may be able to find out that you’ve been terminated from your job. But one’s contract can be terminated for a number of reasons that are not usually disclosed.

In other words, terminated and getting fired are not necessarily interchangeable terms.

Does getting fired affect future employment?

Getting fired may affect your future employment opportunities in some cases. For instance, word-of-mouth would be the most likely culprit behind your struggles to find a new job.

Company owners from the same industry sector do talk to each other. And if the “news” has spread about how you lost your old job, this can have an impact on your chances of getting employed soon after.

Furthermore, some interviewers may ask about the reasons you left your old employer. Don’t make the mistake to say you got fired. You could just use the word “terminated”, instead.

Also, don’t bad-mouth your previous boss, or worse, disclose to the recruiter that you intend to take action against your former superior for firing you.

This, of course, will make your chances of getting hired slimmer straight away.

Does getting fired ruin your career?

It’s rather extreme to believe that your career would be ruined just because you got fired from a job. Worry not because it is NOT.

People get fired for all sorts of reasons, not just for poor performance or behavior issues.

And if you are no longer a good fit for one organization, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be a perfect match for another employer.

In addition, your employment record should be confidential, with regard to why your contract got terminated.

This means that your future career should not be affected, as long as your old boss doesn’t spill the beans that you got fired “with cause”.

On that note, a piece of advice: Don’t be tempted to exclude from your CV your work experience with the company that fired you.

Having a gap in your employment history on your resume will look suspicious to a prospective employer.

How long does a termination stay on your record?

How long does a termination stay on your record

All employers are required to keep their employees’ records for 1 year from the date of termination.

Still, this doesn’t mean that the reasons behind getting terminated will be necessarily disclosed to anyone.

Ideally, if asked, an HR manager should only provide information related to the start and end dates of your employment contract with said company.

It’s another matter, however, if the reason behind being terminated (say, you got fired) is revealed during a private chat between your old employer and a recruiter.

Can an employer actually disclose that you were fired?

Although federal laws don’t prohibit employers from sharing with other employers that you got fired, state laws, on the other hand, vary when it comes to what employers can disclose and to whom.

It's more common than not, however, for company owners to be cautious about what they say about their former employees, fearing any defamation lawsuits.

Still, some smaller businesses don’t have relevant company policies in place and would not feel restricted when it comes to disclosing information about your poor performance or misconduct at work to another employer.

Does a felony go on your record?

If you’ve been convicted of a felony, this will stay on your criminal record until you take steps to expunge it or ask for a non-disclosure order.

And as most employers will run a background check on you, the felony conviction will show up on your criminal record.

Having a felony conviction can seriously affect your future career options. The lower the degree of the felony (ex: a threat of committing a crime), the better chances you’ll have to clear your criminal record after a period of time.

How long does a felony stay on record?

A felony conviction will stay on your record for life unless you take action to remove it.

How long you will have to wait before having the right to expunge a felony and clear your criminal record will depend on the respective state law and the class of felony, you’ve been convicted of.

For instance, less serious felony convictions can be cleared after 5 years.

Does job abandonment go on your record?

Quitting your job without notifying your employer is considered job abandonment and will lead to the termination of your contract.

As discussed, the reasons for termination are NOT readily available on your employment history. And job abandonment will not show up during a general background check, either.

Also, don’t confuse job abandonment with leaving a job without notice. In many at-will employment situations, you may not be required to give notice to your employer.

Whether a new employer finds out that you’ve abandoned your last job will be down to the discretion of your old boss.

How long does job abandonment stay on record?

In specific industry sectors, like public health care services, job abandonment may affect your future employment, as most probably records of this would be kept by the institution you were employed with for some time.

To abandon your job without informing your employer is considered misconduct at work and in the name of the well-being of the public, this may be disclosed to other employers in the sector.

Does gross misconduct go on your record?

Gross misconduct doesn’t go into your employment history. A potential employer could find out about your gross misconduct through word of mouth or by approaching your former employer as part of a thorough background check.

Gross misconduct is simply a term used by companies to describe a wide range of behaviors that are deemed unacceptable in the workplace. If an employee is caught in gross misconduct, they are usually terminated immediately.

Does a misdemeanor go on your record?

A misdemeanor conviction goes on your criminal record. And a simple background check, requested by a prospective employer, will flag that you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor.

Although a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, it can still prompt a recruiter to think twice before hiring you.

And not all misdemeanors are equal. So, it will largely depend on what type of crime you’ve committed.

How long does a misdemeanor stay on record?

The same as with a felony, a misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record forever, unless you petition for expungement.

State laws vary on this, but in most cases, you can clear your record of a misdemeanor conviction after 3 years, again depending on the seriousness and degree of the criminal offense.

If you get fired for stealing, does it go on your record?

Unless your employer presses charges and you get convicted of stealing, the offense would not go on your criminal record.

It’s another matter if your boss decides to disclose this information to another employer when asked about your reputation, reliability, or the reasons for getting terminated.

There’s every chance that the company owner makes a note of the fact that you got fired for stealing, which could affect your future job opportunities.

Frequently asked questions about employment history

How can I find out what's in my employment record?

You can request a copy from your former employer's HR department. Some states also have laws allowing employees to access their records.

Can I omit a job where I was fired from my resume?

Yes, you can. However, be prepared to explain any gaps in your employment history during interviews.

How long do companies typically keep files of former employees?

Companies usually retain personnel files for several years, often 5-7, but the duration can vary based on company policy and local laws.

Can I challenge or dispute what's written in my employment record?

Yes, if you believe there's inaccurate information in your record, you can request corrections through your former employer's HR department.

Is it better for my record if I resign before potentially getting fired?

Resigning can sometimes look better than being fired, as it can be perceived as a proactive decision. However, the context and reason for leaving are also important.

Do all terminations show up on background checks or only specific reasons?

Not all terminations show up on background checks. Typically, only terminations due to legal or criminal reasons might appear.

Written by:
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Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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