NSW Employee Rights on Use of Legal Name Vs. Preferred Name?

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JaneF1702

Member
12 June 2015
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Hi
I have always used my preferred name in over 20 years of employment. The only time a company has required my legal name is for HR or Payearoll activities.

The company I am working for has installed a new HR system called WorkDay which then has a feed into our internal systems recognition, access and process flow.

I have queried way my first name (legal name) is now being displayed across all system and the organisation. I was informed that WorkDay did not have the option for "Preferred name".

I would suspect WorkDay has the option for its yet it wasn't included in the scope of works (sorry I am in IT so understand the project and software installations).

I have been informed that I will just have accept my legal name is being used. I find this offensive and woudl like to understand what my legal position, employee rights, etc. is with regards to not wanting my first name used.

Thanking you
 

DennisD

Well-Known Member
11 July 2014
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589
Hi Jane

Working from first principles, you might consider explaining that as an employee you believe you are entitled to feel safe and comfortable in your work environment and on that basis you would request a IT work-around to be implemented as (for one reason or another which is not clear) the use of your first name causes you to feel: embarrassed? uncomfortable? Depending on your circumstances they might weigh this against the cost of implementing such a work-around.

Let's see what other contributors say as well.
 

BigAl

Member
28 April 2018
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1
I am in the same boat as Jane. I don't want my legal name shared publicly at work, but work are insisting my legal name is used in some systems. This system will make my name visible to 100s of employees.

I consider this a breach of my private data.

Is there any precedent for this?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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You are entering into a legal contract with the employer for the provision of services. They are entitled to know the legal name of the person providing that work.

I can't see any right in your name being considered private information within your organisation. People have a right to know who they are dealing with. You are within your rights to leave and find alternative employment.

They have a duty to make sure no-one outside the business gets hold of your private information but that is likely to exclude your name.
 

Tim W

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Firstly, don't get confused by the term "legal name".

Although the term "legal name" is widely used,
in strict legal terms, in NSW, it's more correct to talk about your "registered name",
that is, the name that appears in the Register of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (wherever located).
When people (even government departments etc) use the term "legal name", it is usually just convenient linguistic shorthand.

Your registered name takes in the whole of your name.
On the numbers, most people use their first name for everything.
But, yes lots of people also have a "preferred name" or the "name they go by" or are "known as".
You are within your rights to use another name, say, your middle name, as your day-to-day name if you wish,
so long as doing so is not misleading or deceptive.
Lawyers call it a "name of repute".

However, your employer is obliged (at common law if in no other way) to accurately record the names of their employee(s).
This is because accuracy matters in things like a Register of Wokplace Injuries, or.... payroll.

You being embarrassed by part of your name is your problem, not theirs.
You can't really force them to use your preferred name... unless, for example, you deal with BDM
and formally re-arrange the word order of your names.
 

Adam1user

Well-Known Member
5 January 2018
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Adding to the above comments, although the system (IT System) may have an option for preferred name, but does the company have to incur this cost? It could be extra cost if you need to include this option in the system (I have some knowledge about IT systems). Also as mentioned in other comments, the legal or registered name is the name the company should use formally, the preferred name can be used causally (asking others to call you by it) but in regards to the IT system, it has to go based on supporting documents (ID, driver licence etc....)
 

Tim W

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Clancy

Well-Known Member
6 April 2016
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Yes, but of limited relevance here.

Of limited relevance aside from being one option to completely solve the problem! On the other hand If the OP is against legally changing his name then it is not an option.
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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Names are a matter of state jurisdiction.
All the Passport Office can do is reflect, and work with,
the requirements of the states' registers.