Electronic Mail (e-mail) Policy
March 09, 2008
The Electronic Mail (e-mail) policy covers the employee training to use the e-mail system, appropriate/inappropriate use of e-mail, the confidentiality, retention, courtesy, security, review, privacy, discipline, monitoring, and other related topics.
Subject: Electronic Mail
Example of: Standard Policy
Before employees are permitted to use the electronic mail system they must complete the training course. There are refresher courses every 6 months. In this fashion, you avoid the embarrassment of inadvertently sending a message to 100 recipients that you only intend to send to one.
Many users dash off e-mail without thinking and without proofreading. Treat e-mail just as if you were writing a letter or memorandum. Check your spelling and grammar. Be courteous and thoughtful of others. Do not send e-mail that is sarcastic, facetious, flippant, droll, sardonic, snide, derisive, has double meanings, etc. In other words, remember that e-mail is like a letter and does not convey your tone of voice, expressions, or body language. E-mail intended as a jest is easily misunderstood.
E-mail is only to be used by authorized persons. If you have not been issued an e-mail box/password, you may not use the e-mail system. Employees are not to use unauthorized codes, passwords, or other means to gain access to e-mail belonging to others. Employees shall not disclose their codes or passwords to others. Employees are to scan for viruses and follow the other security measures contained in the Company’s computer security policy.
Use of e-mail.
The e-mail system, like all other Company property, is to be used only for business purposes of the Company and not personal purposes of the employees. Similarly, Company computers, telephone lines, and cell phones are to be used only for Company business.
Inappropriate use of e-mail.
Do not use the e-mail system to tell a supervisor that you are going to be absent. Similarly, supervisors are not to use the e-mail system to deliver performance reviews.
Generally, sensitive information is not to be sent via electronic mail. For example, performance reviews are not to be sent to the Human Resources Department through electronic mail. Similarly, if you have outside access to electronic mail through a modem, you are not to send a message to your boss that you are going to be absent that day. Instead, you need to comply with Company policy and personally speak with your supervisor about your inability to work that day.
Material containing trade secrets should not be sent via e-mail. Instead, use an encrypted diskette labeled as containing trade secrets and hand carry it to the station that requires the information. For additional details regarding handling trade secrets that are in electronic form, please refer to the trade secret policy.
E-mails are treated like other Company records and are to be retained in accordance with the Company’s document retention policy.
It is expected that you will treat all employees with respect for their individual dignity when sending e-mail messages. Please do not leave curt messages for anyone. Do not use the e-mail system to hide from co-workers.
Customer/vendor access to e-mail.
Certain key customers and vendors have been assigned an e-mail box on the system to expedite communications. All the policies that apply to communications through the e-mail system with co-workers apply to communications with vendors and customers. Do not use the e-mail system when a personal telephone call is more appropriate for maintaining cordial relationships with our customers and vendors.
E-mail messages are considered to be business records of the Company. Accordingly, they may be used in administrative, judicial, or other proceedings.
All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the Company’s e-mail system or use of Company facilities to send or receive e-mail grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system, in printed form or in any other medium. Similarly, use of the Company’s computers, telephone lines, or cell phones to access a free Internet Service Provider (ISP) and then your personal e-mail box on another system grants consent to the review of any messages to or from you using such computers or telephone lines.
While you have a personal, private password, the manager of information systems has access to all electronic mail messages to ensure compliance with Company policy. Personal passwords can be overridden and thus the manager of information systems has access to all electronic mail messages to ensure compliance with Company policy. As noted, your e-mail, computer, and storage medium are subject to random, unannounced audits to confirm compliance with Company policy. If material is in an e-mail, on your computer, or on storage medium, it will be treated as related to Company business and will be subject to such inspection. You are not to keep personal information in e-mail, on your computer, or on storage medium. Do not use any personal encryption software for your e-mail. Instead, use only Company-provided encryption software. Provide all passwords you use for e-mail to the manager of information systems.
Periodically, your use of the network, e-mail, and other communication systems may be monitored. Violations of Company policies detected through such monitoring can lead to discipline, up to and including discharge. For example, if you are using the computer system, including the e-mail, for personal purposes, you may be disciplined. If you are using the system to abuse others, you may be disciplined. If you are working overtime and failing to report that overtime, you may be disciplined. If you gain access to information in any unauthorized fashion, you may be disciplined.
Just as the Company does not permit the posting of items for solicitation on bulletin boards or the circulation of memos soliciting sales or contributions to charity, you may not do so through the electronic mail system. As examples, e-mail shall not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the Company’s business.
Foul, inappropriate, or offensive messages such as racial, sexual, or religious slurs are prohibited in e-mail. Violation of this policy will lead to discipline, which may include discharge.
Application of general Company policies.
Many Company policies apply to the use of the electronic mail system. For example, our policies concerning courtesy, solicitation, harassment, reporting absences, etc., all apply. Employees who fail to comply with the electronic mail policies or other Company policies are subject to discipline, up to and including discharge.
Employees may be disciplined up to and including discharge for violation of e-mail policies or the violation of any other Company policies through the use of the e-mail system.