Computers and other technological devices are supposed to help headaches in the business world.

Instead, in a growing number of ways, computers--and other electronic communication tools -- are a Pandora's box. They open your business or organization to all kinds of risks such as loss of information and theft of data. They can become a tool for defamation, illegal harassment, identity theft and more.

You can tighten the lid on the Pandora's box, and reduce the risks with a written policy telling employees exactly what your company expects them to do when using the employer's electronic equipment.

Cover Points Like these in Your Policy:

  • Company-supplied computers and communication devices are the property of the company. All information transmitted, received or stored in the equipment is owned by the company. Employees should not expect privacy when using the equipment. The company has the right to monitor employee use of the equipment.

  • The equipment is only to be used for purposes that benefit the company.

  • Transmitting any information of a discriminatory, sexually provocative, offensive, threatening, harassing, libelous, slanderous, defamatory, pornographic, or inflammatory nature is prohibited. Do not transmit material in violation of any state or federal law or government regulation.
     
  • Do not transmit electronic messages, other than those necessary for job-related duties, without authorization of a supervisor.

  • Do not input to the computer hard drive files or documents created outside the workplace until the file or document is scanned for viruses by an approved anti-virus program.

  • Do not download online software without authorization.
     
  • Do not illegally copy software. Do not copy the company's software for personal use.

Sample Electronic Equipment Policy

Use of Company's equipment: The company prohibits employees from using its equipment for personal use. Employees will not use such equipment to create material intended for personal or other non-business-related purposes.

Playing computer games on company-owned equipment is prohibited, whether on or off duty. Employees will not bring discs, CDs, tapes, or any other electronic data storage device from outside into the workplace. Employees will not remove from the workplace discs, CDs, tapes or any other electronic data storage device or other equipment or property belonging to the company. Deviation from this policy requires authorization of a supervisor or member of management.

Online (Internet) access is limited to employees who have a business-related need. Employees whose work does not require the use of a computer will not operate one. An employee will not operate another employee's computer, unless authorized to do so by a supervisor for work-related reasons.

Employees who are authorized to work with confidential information on the company's computers must keep it confidential. Other employees will not access such information, and if inadvertently they gain access to it, they will immediately exit from the document or program and will keep such information confidential.

Monitoring of employee use of company equipment: When using the company's computers and other electronic equipment, employees have no right to privacy and will not expect privacy. The company reserves the right to monitor the company's equipment any time, with or without warning.

The company reserves the right to inspect and monitor incoming and outgoing correspondence received or sent:

  • By an employee to or from the company's premises.
  • Using company equipment.
  • Via a messenger or service that is paid for or subsidized by the company.

This right extends to internal and external mail, messages, electronic correspondence, electronic bulletin board accounts, national electronic messaging service accounts and other correspondence services. Inspection of incoming and outgoing messages or mail may occur at any time, with or without notice.

 

Sample E-mail and Electronic Messaging Policy

All electronic and telephonic communication systems such as e-mail, instant messaging, fax, and voice mail, and all information transmitted, received or stored in these systems, are the property of the company. E-mail, instant messages, and fax messages transmitted and received on company-owned equipment are not private communications. The use of the company's electronic and telephone equipment for the purpose of transmitting or receiving personal information is strictly prohibited.

The content of e-mail, instant messages and fax messages can be intercepted and made public in a number of ways. Therefore, it is important that you do not transmit confidential information or information that could be embarrassing to you or to the company in them. Never transmit by e-mail, instant message or fax (or in any other way or by any other means) information, statements or opinions that are libelous, slanderous, defamatory, discriminatory, offensive, pornographic, inflammatory, threatening, or harassing.

You are not to open e-mail or other electronic messages, other than your own or those you are authorized to open by your supervisor or by the person to whom the message is addressed. You are not allowed to fake or to alter sent or received communications sent from or received in the workplace.

An employee who disregards or violates this policy is subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

© Bizactions LLC.