Is my boss violating any laws when he makes me have my full name on my work badge?

Posted 02-25-2015

Ann Kiernan replies:

It is perfectly legal to require you to wear a name badge at work. In fact, it is required in many states for health care workers, law enforcement personnel, security guards, utility workers, and others.

For businesses that serve customers face to face, name badges are an important part of good customer service. Some of the reasons why:

  • Problem solving. It’s a lot easier to troubleshoot if you can say “I gave the package to Charlie at the front desk” instead of “I gave the package to the man at the front desk.”
  • Symmetry. Employees often address even first-time customers by name by looking at their credit cards, boarding passes, etc. Why shouldn’t customers know employee names as well?
  • Credit. It’s easier to praise good service if you can say “Isabel took the time to fit my son’s new shoes properly” than “The tall woman with the glasses took the time to fit my son’s new shoes properly.”
  • Deterrence and Accountability. Name badges provide deterrence of bad behavior and instant accountability if it does occur.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.