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Name badges illegal - court

February 18, 2005

Name badges illegal - court

Attempts by the New Plymouth District Council to force staff to wear badges showing their full names have been ruled illegal.

The Employment Court has issued a judgment saying that the council’s instruction to staff that they must show their surnames on badges is unreasonable because it could endanger staff.

The workers’ union, the EPMU, has welcomed the decision, saying it is a victory for workers’ safety.

“The staff were happy to have their first names on badges, but feared that displaying their surnames could lead to them being tracked down at home and their families threatened,” said EPMU National Secretary Andrew Little.

Notes - Extract From Court Judgment Explaining How the Policy Began

In 2001 Ms Thurston prepared a report concerning security procedures and staff identification. That report said:

"For the purposes of being more customer friendly it is appropriate that staff are able to be identified by their name. In addition for security purposes it is appropriate that a photo also be part of any identification to ensure there is no one “masquerading” for another person. A third advantage is that for new staff it makes identifying other staff much easier and for staff who have been with the Council for awhile it gives them the ability to identify new staff members by name."

Mr Kerr-Newell announced the arrival of the ID badges in a letter to all staff dated 21 June 2003:

At last I tell you with great joy the new ID badges have arrived. In the run up to this momentous occasion I recall that there were a series of issues which got sucked into the discussion about customer emphasis and identity. I am sure these are all behind us. All members of staff who are employed by the New Plymouth District Council are required to wear their badge all the time they are at work, for the keener amongst you, you should feel free to wear them at home or in bed as well. … Your Badge Must Be Worn In A Visible And Prominent Position On Your Body. In General This Means On Your Left Or Right Shoulder.

It is vital that our customers know who we are and who they are dealing with when they approach any of us. Never forget our objective is “sensational customer service”.

In the week following the issue of badges to everyone I will be running a competition which will involve a prize for the person who can give me the largest list of names of people who forgot to put their badge on. People on the list will also be given an award the competition will be ongoing.


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