Saskatchewan Arbitrator Rules Healthcare Workers Don’t Need To Wear Full Name on ID Tags

A recent Saskatchewan arbitration decision which found that it’s a violation of workers’ rights to be safe and free of harassment to be required to wear name tags with their full name is timely given a couple recent events…

First, in my end of year mega-post, I mentioned in Question #31 about “My Personal Fashion Sense” that RPL staff had finally been mandated to wear identification badges though these say “Staff” or “Supervisor” rather than ones that had our full or even just our first names on them.

In that answer, I mentioned this issue was probably more divisive than it needed to be. That was in reference to my personal belief that there shouldn’t be an issue (for the most part) with staff being identifiable as staff – either by a “Staff” ID tag or a uniform or wearing something with the organization’s logo or whatever.

At the same time, I would have an issue with any request for staff to wear name tags with their full names and would even be opposed to first names on tags because, in a female dominated workplace where we regularly interact with strangers of all states of mind, even giving a stranger for your first name can lead to harassment and worse. (As I said, we don’t even wear name tags and I’ve witnessed and even interceded in some pretty creepy interactions.)

The second conversation was just the other day when I helped a co-worker of Shea’s (who I’ve never met but who knows I work at the library) at my branch.  She related this to Shea by saying “I think your husband helped me at the library today but I wasn’t sure – he didn’t have a name tag on.”  (My response?  “If she thought I was your husband, she could’ve also asked!”) 😉

Final thought.  I first saw the story about this arbitration decision posted on Facebook by CUPE National.  In the comments, one woman said “I don’t understand why people can’t use their full names and take responsibility for their actions?”

I really debated posting a reply to point out that, just as with on Facebook where you also have to use your full name (like the woman did in her comment), that leads to a situation where a single Google search could reveal…

  • A news story about a person (with a couple photos that conveniently help you confirm that this is the same person posting on Facebook)
  • Her hometown (which isn’t listed on her Facebook page but when cross-referenced with hometowns of a number of her friends doubly confirms you’ve probably got the same person)
  • Her unprotected news feed where she’s shared this news story which 100% confirms this is the same person.
  • Details about some health issues a family member is facing
  • …and the fact that she’s probably *not* on CUPE’s Facebook page because she’s a supporter but because she’s angry at unionized healthcare workers because of that last point.

All of that with a *single* Google search of the person’s name which led to a single news story.  I didn’t bother going even one step further to see if I could track down anything else about her – home address, phone number, salary (as many publicly funded institutions disclose and which I am also *very* opposed to as a practice because of the privacy and safety implications) and who knows what else is out there?

I’m not even a particularly skilled hacker – someone with more skills could probably get into all kinds of information people consider private and secure – email accounts, banking, other password protected sites.

*That* is why this is about so much more than “taking responsibility” (which in reality means you’re just giving customers/clients/patrons an unfair upper-hand and power position by knowing your full name.)

Comments 1

  1. John B wrote:

    A very interesting post. If someone asked me I would have said, sure, why not? I would say full name tags for uniformed police should be mandatory. However, I have a windbreaker from my former employer with my first name on the sleeve that I’ve worn for years. When a clerk in a store addressed me as “John”, I found it kind of creepy.

    Posted 07 Jan 2016 at 1:52 pm

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