Can my employer force me to change my last name?

I am a police officer and got married about 9 months ago. I legally changed my last name to my husbands for my personal life. I kept my professional name as my maiden name for safety reasons since my husband and I work together. The chief of police recently decided to tell me that he is forcing me to change my professional name to my legal name. I want to know if legally he can force me to change my professional name to be the same as my legal name. All of my certifications are under my professional name (maiden name). He is worried that under oath when asked my name, and I use my professional name, my maiden name, that isn’t accurate. What are my rights? Can I legally keep my professional name as my maiden name?

Asked on April 26, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Your chief is misguided and this could be tantamount to sex discrmination/gender discrimination. You need to explain to him you will not change it and before you do, you better make sure you obtain something from your personnel department. He cannot dictate how you wish to use your name. Your choice, your life. You might wish to report him to the higher ups if he persists.

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