1.11 Employee Chosen Name/Legal Name Policy

I. Policy

The College recognizes the need or choice for employees to refer to themselves by a first name other than their legal first name for identification. This may include individuals who use:

  • A middle name or a version of their first name instead of their legal first name;
  • A frequently used nickname;
  • A legal first name that an individual is in the process of legally changing; or
  • A first name that better represents an individual’s gender identity or expression.

The College also recognizes the need for employees to update their name in College systems and records to match their legal name when changed for marriage, divorce, or other circumstances.

The College acknowledges that a chosen name will be used where possible in College systems and records and in the course of College business and education, except when the use of an individual’s legal name is required by law or state policy, and as long as the use of a chosen name is not intended for the purposes of avoiding legal obligations, for misrepresentation, or as otherwise prohibited in this policy below.

II. Definitions

  • Legal name: An individual’s legal name as it appears on official governmental documents, such as social security cards, licenses, passports, and tax forms.
  • Chosen name: An alternative to an individual’s legal first name, used by a person to refer to themselves as designated in College systems and records.

III. Chosen Name

Except as set forth in the following Sections IV, V, and VII, employees may determine the chosen name by which they wish to be known in College systems and records, and they may change or remove their chosen name at any time a maximum of once per calendar year. Only the first name may be designated for the chosen name; the last name must remain the same as an employee’s legal last name. Thus, an employee’s chosen full name is their chosen first name and legal last name.

As it becomes possible to implement the use of chosen names, the College will make a good faith effort to update systems and records designated for use of chosen names in a timely manner. The College utilizes multiple systems, applications, and forms to manage its operations, and it is continually updating software and incorporating new electronic and other files. Thus, the process of modifying College systems and records is ongoing.

Specific systems and records where the College may use a chosen name are listed in the College’s electronic Employee Chosen Name Request Form available in Human Resources. Examples include:

  • Online/email directory listings
  • Business cards
  • Name tags

Despite these allowances outlined, not all College systems, databases, processes, records, and forms support the display of a chosen name, and many uses require display of a legal name (see, e.g., Section IV of this policy). Thus, employees who utilize a chosen name with the College should always be prepared to reference their legal name and provide corresponding identification, as necessary.

IV. Legal Name

To change an employee’s name on certain official College records, individuals must legally change their name.

  • Legal name changes due to marriage are recognized by submitting a copy of a marriage certificate or a signed social security card.
  • Legal name changes due to divorce are recognized by submitting a copy of a divorce decree stating the individual may resume the use of their maiden name or use an alternative name confirmed by the court, or a signed social security card.
  • All other legal name changes are recognized by submitting a signed social security card, passport, government-issued visa, or applicable court documents.

A legal name change shall be required for the following purposes:

  • Reporting to state and federal agencies
  • Federal and state tax forms and reporting, including W2, W4, 1099, and 1095C
  • Immigration, visa, and other employment eligibility records
  • Employment applications and related documents
  • Background check documents
  • Payroll records, checks, and direct deposits
  • Checks and direct deposits issued by Accounts Payable, including check requests and travel reimbursements
  • Pension and retirement records
  • Employee benefits enrollment and other records
  • Insurance enrollment and other records
  • Employee leave and accommodation records, including materials related to workers’ compensation, FMLA leave, and ADA requests for accommodation
  • Employee personnel file designations
  • Employment contracts
  • Professional licensures
  • Employment verification
  • Employee identification cards
  • Other records where a legal name is required by law or College policy

Employees who wish to change their legal name in College systems and records should be prepared to complete a new I-9 and provide acceptable supporting documents (e.g., valid driver’s license and social security card, or passport).

Although the College will change an employee’s legal name in applicable databases and records once approved, an employee’s former legal name may continue to be listed as a previous identity in College systems and records in order to ensure that any searches of a former legal name will access correct information.

V. Identification Cards

The College understands that it may be important to individuals for their College-issued employee identification card to reflect their chosen name. However, as a state institution, the College requires employees to provide appropriate documentation of a legal name change before a new employee identification card is issued that reflects the changed name.

VI. Limits

The College reserves the right to refuse use of a chosen name. Instances that may result in this prohibition include arbitrary, random, or repeated chosen name changes; chosen names used for the purpose of avoiding legal obligations or for misrepresentation or fraud; or chosen names used in any other manner that violates College policy or federal, state, or local law.

Chosen names may not include symbols (except apostrophes, periods or hyphens) or numbers or reference illegal activity. Further, chosen names may not include those whose usage may be hurtful to others or may be considered vulgar, offensive, derogatory, or obscene, including words and terms commonly perceived as slurs against an individual or group on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.

Human Resources has the authority to deny any chosen name request or to suspend or remove a chosen name in extreme cases — including, but not limited to, for the aforementioned noted reasons. In the rare circumstance when such a denial is made, an employee may appeal the decision in writing to the Chief Human Resources Officer, whose decision shall be final.


Changes approved by the Board of Trustees on May 6, 2020

Approved by the Board of Trustees November 22, 2019.