[svlug] Username Policies

David Rosenstrauch darose at darose.net
Wed Jul 16 15:33:13 PDT 2008

Steven Friese wrote:
> Does anyone know of a company that has been sued for it's email
> username policies?  For example, if a company is using
> firstname at company.com for their email address and there is a conflict
> of first names, can the company require users to either use a
> different first name, a variant of their first name or an alias?
> I am suggesting that our company use firstname.lastname at company.com
> but I am getting a lot of resistance.
> I've asked our CEO to verify the policy with our lawyers so we don't
> run afoul of any discrimination laws , but I was hoping someone might
> be able to point me to a web site with some info on this topic.
> Thanks,

FYI - many companies (including my former employer Credit Suisse, a 
major bank) use the firstname.lastname at domain.com format, so I'd think 
it's a safe bet.

I wouldn't think you'd need to force someone to change their name even 
in the case of a name clash, though.  I imagine the duplicate could be 
handled by a slight change to the format for either the duplicate or 
both users, e.g., first.middle.last at domain.com.  But that's just off the 
top of my head.  I'd imagine that after 10+ years into the Internet era, 
there's a pretty strong history of standard procedures for handling this 
sort of thing that you could probably find via your favorite search engine.

Even if you did have to make an alteration to a name for email purposes, 
I'm not sure I can see how/why someone could have cause to sue.  Most 
employment in this country is "at-will employment" 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment), so if a person didn't 
like the email address they were assigned, they could just quit.


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