Name Tag Policy Requiring Last Names Suspended Due to Safety Concerns

A health region introduced a new policy that required employees to wear name tags with a photo, their job title, and their first and last names. The union challenged the requirement for last names, arguing that, among other things, last names increased personal risk and violated workers’ rights to a safe workplace. An arbitration panel agreed, suspending the policy. Having a last name on name tags made it easier for patients and their families and friends to learn the identity of caregivers and contact employees outside of the hospital. Although there hadn’t been any reported safety incidents that could be attributed to the new name tag policy, the panel concluded that the policy didn’t promote the “highest degree of physical, mental, and social wellbeing of workers” because it was introduced without consultation and, in the absence of a formal risk assessment and safety protocols that could be tied to that assessment, didn’t address the prevention of violence against workers [Prairie North Health Region v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 5111 (Employee Name Tags Grievance), [2015] S.L.A.A. No. 17, Dec. 11, 2015].