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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Default Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of Texas. I have three questions specific to resumes and not applications:

    1. Is it legal in the USA to use a pseudonym instead of a real name on a resume?

    2. Can listing earned/legitimate degrees under the birth name associated with a pseudonym on a resume be considered resume fraud?

    3. Can prospective employers conduct a background check from resumes without consent?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    If you regularly use a name other than your legal name, such that your work history is going to be under the "pseudonym", then there is no reason not to use your "pseudonym". If you want to submit a job application with a made-up name, there's no law against that either -- but it will create issues if the employer conducts any sort of background check, as nothing on your résumé will check out.

    Obviously, if you lie on your résumé that can be deemed "résumé fraud", whether or not you use your actual name.

    Your prospective employer does not need your permission to try to verify the claims you make on your résumé.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    13

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    If you regularly use a name other than your legal name, such that your work history is going to be under the "pseudonym", then there is no reason not to use your "pseudonym". If you want to submit a job application with a made-up name, there's no law against that either -- but it will create issues if the employer conducts any sort of background check, as nothing on your résumé will check out.

    Obviously, if you lie on your résumé that can be deemed "résumé fraud", whether or not you use your actual name.

    Your prospective employer does not need your permission to try to verify the claims you make on your résumé.
    Thank you for your response. I have two other questions for you:

    1. Can a prospective employer run a background check on just a name or do they need additional information?

    2. Can a prospective employer verify degrees earned even though the colleges confirmed that they do not volunteer any information without written consent?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    7,879

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Quote Quoting MarkSmith
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    1. Can a prospective employer run a background check on just a name or do they need additional information?
    To run an in-depth check would require more than just a name, unless it's an incredibly unique name. They can do some general checking just off a name though. They are unlikely to want to do any kind of in-depth check at just the resume stage of application.

    Quote Quoting MarkSmith
    View Post
    2. Can a prospective employer verify degrees earned even though the colleges confirmed that they do not volunteer any information without written consent?
    If the college won't give information without consent, they can't verify it through the college offices. There may be other ways.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    24,393

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Mark, you've been posting this question all over the Internet, and while I know you claimed "down the street" that this was hypothetical, frankly I don't believe it for a minute. You'd probably get answers that are better suited to the situation you're dealing with if you'd tell us what it is instead of asking questions in a vacuum that may or may not have exceptions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,173

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    sounds like someone is trying to prove some type of discrimination based of off name (gender or racial stereotyping).

    That said, i do know employers who will do a cursory 'net search on names and locations prior to ever setting up an interview. I haven't seen them do a full background check, but realize FCRA only applies to third party background checks not internal ones.

    If you use a 'pseudonym' you better do your own investigation into the name first! And honestly going into a new hire process as James Jones and telling HR your real name is Kevin Smith is going to put a ? on your employment file pretty immediately. Now I've had plenty of people who use nicknames for first names.

    You also need to be careful about what you are attesting to in any application you sign. Some do say that it covers not only the application but any resume/cover letter/documentation that you have provided. And I would say a "pseudonym" means you are hiding something and not telling the truth.

    In most "at will" states an employer could pull the job first day for you having done so. Especially if you also do so on a background check form.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,998

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Quote Quoting hr for me
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    In most "at will" states an employer could pull the job first day for you having done so. Especially if you also do so on a background check form.
    Actually even in the one non at will state an employer can discharge on the first day as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    1,173

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Actually even in the one non at will state an employer can discharge on the first day as well.
    yeah...that ones not my state so i haven't studied up on the rights of the employer there....but I would think this would give enough cause possibly

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    Yes, in the one state that is not at-will this would be just cause to fire.

    I was thinking more along the lines of wanting to hide something (a previous firing? A conviction? Lack of a required degree or certification?) from a prospective employer and then (potentially) reveal it after hire.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,998

    Default Re: Can You Legally Use a Pseudonyms on Your Résumé

    I really wish that one state would bring their laws inline with everyone else. It isn't like they are a liberal state or anything. Not that many people even live there. I swear they just do it so we have to caveat many of our statements.

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