ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS & E-MAIL POLICY
This policy is a guideline only, as no one policy that can fit all, or even most, employers. Each employer's e- mail policy will be shaped by such individual factors as Company culture, who uses the e-mail system, the capabilities of the e-mail software program, including encryption, whether employees are permitted to link their home computers to the employer's workplace network, and Company policies with regard to analogous hard-paper storage. E- mail policies can be drafted to be more restrictive or more protective of employee privacy rights. Any specific policy should be drafted with the assistance of legal counsel to make sure legal requirements are met.
Sample E-Mail Policy
This policy describes XYZ Corporation's guidelines with regard to access to and disclosure of electronic mail messages sent or received by XYZ employees with use of the XYZ e-mail system. XYZ respects the individual privacy of its employees. However, employee privacy does not extend to the employee's work-related conduct or to the use of Company-provided equipment or supplies. You should be aware that the following guidelines may affect your privacy in the workplace.
Management's Right to Access Information.
The electronic mail system has been installed by XYZ to facilitate business communications. Although each employee has an individual password to access this system, it belongs to the Company and the contents of e-mail communications are accessible at all times by XYZ management for any business purpose. These systems may be subject to periodic unannounced inspections, and should be treated like other shared filing systems. All system passwords and encryption keys must be available to Company management, and you may not use passwords that are unknown to your supervisor or install encryption programs without turning over encryption keys to your supervisor. All e-mail messages are Company records. The contents of e-mail, properly obtained for legitimate business purposes, may be disclosed within the Company without your permission. Therefore, you should not assume that messages are confidential. Back-up copies of e-mail may be maintained and referenced for business and legal reasons.
Personal Use of E-Mail.
Because XYZ provides the electronic mail system to assist you in the performance of your job, you should use it for official Company business. Incidental and occasional personal use of e-mail is permitted by XYZ, but these messages will be treated the same as other messages. XYZ reserves the right to access and disclose as necessary all messages sent over its e-mail system, without regard to content. Since your personal messages can be accessed by XYZ management without prior notice, you should not use e-mail to transmit any messages you would not want read by a third party. For example, you should not use the XYZ e-mail for gossip, including personal information about yourself or others, for forwarding messages under circumstances likely to embarrass the sender, or for emotional responses to business correspondence or work situations. In any event, you should not use these systems for such purposes as soliciting or proselytizing for commercial ventures, religious or personal causes or outside organizations or other similar, non-job-related solicitations. If XYZ discovers that you are misusing the e-mail system, you will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Forbidden Content of E-Mail Communications.
You may not use XYZ's e-mail system in any way that may be seen as insulting, disruptive, or offensive by other persons, or harmful to morale. Examples of forbidden transmissions include sexually-explicit messages, cartoons, or jokes; unwelcome propositions or love letters; ethnic or racial slurs; or any other message that can be construed to be harassment or disparagement of others based on, inter alia, their sex, race, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or religious or political beliefs. Use of the Company-provided e-mail system in violation of this guideline will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Password and Encryption Key Security and Integrity.
Employees are prohibited from the unauthorized use of the passwords and encryption keys of other employees to gain access to the other employee's e-mail messages.
Corporate Policy Guideline
Acceptable uses of the Internet and company e-mail:
The company provided Internet and e-mail access is intended to be for business reasons only. The company encourages the use of the Internet and e-mail because they make communication more efficient and effective. However, Internet service and e-mail are company property, and their purpose is to facilitate company business. Every staff member has a responsibility to maintain and enhance the company's public image and to use company e-mail and access to the Internet in a productive manner. To ensure that all employees are responsible, the following guidelines have been established for using e-mail and the Internet. Any improper use of the Internet or e-mail is not acceptable and will not be permitted.
Unacceptable uses of the Internet and company e-mail:
The company e-mail and Internet access may not be used for transmitting, retrieving or storage of any communications of a discriminatory or harassing nature or materials that are obscene or X-rated. Harassment of any kind is prohibited. No messages with derogatory or inflammatory remarks about an individual's race, age, disability, religion, national origin, physical attributes or sexual preference shall be transmitted. No abusive, profane or offensive language is to be transmitted through the company's e-mail or Internet system. Electronic media may also not be used for any other purpose which is illegal or against company policy or contrary to the company's best interest. Solicitation of non-company business or any use of the company e-mail or Internet for personal gain, is prohibited.
Each employee is responsible for the content of all text, audio or images that they place or send over the company's e-mail/Internet system. No e-mail or other electronic communications may be sent which hides the identity of the sender or represents the sender as someone else or someone from another company. All messages communicated on the company's e-mail/Internet system should contain the employee's name.
Any messages or information sent by an employee to another individual outside of the company via an electronic network (e.g., bulletin board, online service or Internet) are statements that reflect on the company. While some users include personal "disclaimers" in electronic messages, there is still a connection to the company, and the statements may be tied to the company.
All communications sent by employees via the company's e-mail/Internet system must comply with this and other company policies and may not disclose any confidential or proprietary company information.
To prevent computer viruses from being transmitted through the company's e-mail/Internet system, there will be no unauthorized downloading of any unauthorized software. All software downloaded must be registered to the company. Employees should contact MIS if they have any questions.
Copyrighted materials belonging to entities other than this company, may not be transmitted by employees on the company's e-mail/Internet system. All employees obtaining access to other companies' or individuals' materials must respect all copyrights and may not copy, retrieve, modify or forward copyrighted materials, except with permission, or as a single copy to reference only. Failure to observe copyright or license agreements may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
The company routinely monitors usage patterns for its e-mail/Internet communications. The reasons for this monitoring are many, including cost analysis/allocation and the management of the company's gateway to the Internet. All messages created, sent, or retrieved over the company's e-mail/Internet are the property of the company and should be considered public information. The company reserves the right to access and monitor all messages and files on the company's e-mail/Internet system. Employees should not assume electronic communications are totally private and should transmit highly confidential data in other ways.
Any employee who abuses the privilege of company facilitated access to e-mail or the Internet, will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination. If necessary, the company also reserves the right to advise appropriate legal officials of any illegal violations.
Corporate E-mail and Internet User Agreement
I have received a copy of XYZ Company's Corporate Policy Guideline on e-mail/Internet acceptable use, policy #____, dated, _____. I recognize and understand that the company's e-mail/Internet systems are to be used for conducting the company's business only. I understand that use of this equipment for private purposes is strictly prohibited.
As part of the XYZ organization and use of XYZ's gateway to the Internet and e-mail system, I understand that this e-mail/Internet corporate guideline applies to me.
I have read the aforementioned document and agree to follow all policies and procedures that are set forth therein. I further agree to abide by the standards set in the document for the duration of my employment with XYZ Company.
I am aware that violations of this corporate guideline on e-mail/Internet acceptable use may subject me to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge from employment.
I further understand that my communications on the Internet and e-mail reflect XYZ Company, world-wide to our competitors, consumers, customers and suppliers. Furthermore, I understand that this document can be amended at any time.
Employee Signature Date
Employee Printed Name
Communicate this policy in several ways, including:
- Online message that appears when the user logs onto e-mail/Internet.
- Short policy statement regarding e-mail/Internet acceptable use in the employee handbook.
- Orientation and hiring statement notifying new employees of e-mail/Internet policies.
- Training Sessions on computer and Internet use and e-mail policies. An employee who is told that monitoring will occur may be apprehensive about using the company's e-mail and Internet systems. Training sessions where policies are explained in detail can go a long way in allaying fears.
Implement one or more of the following preventative measures:
- Log or restrict all internet access by employees, using software generally available in the market
- Install Internet Filtering And Monitoring Software
- Install virus protection software which is regularly updated
Contact us if you would like your HR Policies and Procedures audited or new ones drawn up:
Northgate Office Park, Block 4B, Units 43 - 45, Northriding, South Africa
PO Box 925 Lanseria Gauteng 1748 South Africa
Telephone: 0861 967 5463
Facsimile: 011 507 6173