Create a Policy Statement governing electronic communications in your workplace with this easy-to-use template.
The Policy Statement must be followed by all employees. Topics covered in the Policy Statement are:
- use of internet and email during working hours
- misuse of the employer's communications equipment, networks and facilities,
- the employer's right to monitor an employee's email and internet use on company-owned equipment,
- disciplinary action resulting from an employee's violation of the Policy, which may include termination of employment,
- good practice guidelines to be followed by employees.
This Policy Statement Governing Electronic Communications in the Workplace template is provided in MS Word format, and can be easily edited to meet your specific business needs.
[NAME OF COMPANY] POLICY STATEMENT GOVERNING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE TO: ALL EMPLOYEES OF [NAME OF COMPANY] Effective Date: ___________________ This Policy Statement is designed to protect employees of the Company from harassment, real or alleged misuse and any consequential disciplinary action arising from the use of electronic communication equipment in the workplace. It is also intended to ensure that the Company’s equipment is used responsibly and safely at all times, and there are implications for the actions of individual employees and for the Company as a result of such actions. All employees are expected to read this Policy Statement. Any violation of the policies set out in this Policy Statement will result in disciplinary action, which may include termination of your employment. Remember that you are at all times responsible for your use of Company-supplied computer equipment and Internet and other network access, and you are expected to act in a reasonable, ethical, responsible and business-like manner. If you have any questions regarding acceptable use of the electronic communications equipment and network, please address the same with your supervisor. Electronic communications equipment includes telephones, fax machines, voicemail, computers, laptops, email, Internet, mobile phones (all types), photocopiers, digital cameras, videos and hand-held devices. All of the Company-supplied communications equipment and facilities are provided solely for business use during working hours. We expect all employees to behave sensibly and to use equipment for personal use outside of your regular working hours (i.e. only on your personal time, such as lunch hours). Any such personal use of the Company’s equipment and facilities outside of your working hours must comply with the terms of this Policy Statement. Use of Internet and Email During Working Hours Internet Employees are expected to restrict their Internet use to work-related sites during working hours. Reasonable personal use is permitted outside of your regular working hours. Any abuse of this privilege may result in disciplinary action. Information obtained from the Internet which is intended to be used for business purposes must be verified and confirmed before any use is made of such information. The transfer of sensitive material over the Internet constitutes a security risk. Employees must use secure sites whenever possible, and exercise due care and caution when transferring sensitive Company material and information. All files and materials downloaded from the Internet, from ftp servers, received as attachments to emails or otherwise must be scanned with a virus protection program prior to installation or execution to protect the spread of viruses to the Company’s equipment and network. -2- Email Each employee is provided with a work email account for all work-related communications. Email is provided as a work communication tool and any abuse of this privilege may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Your work email account must not be used to store or circulate personal email. Email messages are governed by the same rules and policies which cover all Company correspondence with its customers, suppliers and other third parties. All email communications should be written in a responsible, professional and businesslike manner. The use of objectionable language or content is prohibited. Bear in mind that emails may be submitted as evidence in legal proceedings. It is also crucial to remember that email discussions with third parties can constitute a legally binding contract. Copies of all emails with customers, suppliers and other third parties should be kept as a record of the communication. No employee should access the email of another employee without their express permission and a good reason for such access (such as lengthy absence due to illness, accident, etc.). However, all employees should be aware that Company email accounts may be accessed by management for monitoring or management purposes as set out in the “Monitoring and Privacy” section of this Policy Statement. Employees are prohibited from sending or forwarding chain letters through email. What To Do if You Receive Inappropriate Emails If you receive offensive, obscene and/or discriminatory email, it is your responsibility to report it immediately to your supervisor, and after reporting it to delete the email and any attachments from your email account. Blogs The Company’s blog is intended as a means of connecting with customers and potential customers, celebrating the efforts of our staff, sharing information and resources, and networking with the public. The “Misuse of Electronic Equipment” section applies equally to any and all Company blogs, which must be used only for professional purposes. Any inappropriate use may lead to disciplinary action in accordance with Company policy. All blog postings should contain a disclaimer that the views expressed are personal and not necessarily those of the Company or management. Misuse of Communications Equipment and Facilities Any misuse of the Company’s communications equipment, networks and facilities is a serious disciplinary offence and may result in termination of employment. Employees are prohibited from using Company-supplied equipment or facilities for any of the following purposes: 1. Storing, viewing, downloading or distributing material that is obscene, offensive or pornographic, intimidating, harassing, degrading, abusive, inflammatory, contains violent images, or incites criminal behavior or racial hatred. Any activity of this kind will result in immediate termination of employment; 2. Gambling or gaming; -3- 3. Engaging in political campaigning or lobbying or distributing literature or materials on behalf of a political organization; 4. Promoting or operating a commercial business; 5. Downloading or distributing games, music, pictures, or videos from the Internet for personal use. These types of files often carry viruses, they use up storage capacity on servers and can run the risk of a potential breach of copyright; 6. Altering, modifying or distribution copyrighted materials (such as software, printed material, photographs, etc.) without the consent of the copyright holder. Employees must read and comply with all copyright notices pertaining to materials downloaded and distributed over the internet. Use of the Company’s systems to post, upload, download, transmit or otherwise send or receive a
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