Writing recently on a Microsoft-sponsored blog, Kim Komando says every company that uses computers — from the smallest to the largest — should have a written policy on computer and Internet use.
That being said, here’s a checklist provided by Human Resources Solutions that can be used to develop a policy on employees’ use of the employer’s electronic communications and computer information systems, with the proviso that it should not be implemented without advice of your legal counsel or other qualified HR professional:
- Define what systems are covered by the policy, e.g., voice mail, e-mail, Internet, and computer systems and files.
- Make clear that use of employer’s computer systems is to be used for business purposes only, and all files and messages are company property.
- If personal use is permitted, prohibit personal use that interferes with employee’s work or that of others (e.g., prohibiting non-work related websites such as chat rooms, games, travel, shopping, stock trading, hate/discrimination, pornography, etc.).
- Prohibit inappropriate use including transmitting or downloading of material that is discriminatory, defamatory, harassing, insulting, offensive, pornographic or obscene.
- Prohibit copying and sending any confidential or proprietary information, or software that is protected by copyright and other laws protecting intellectual property.
- Prohibit unauthorized access by employees of other employees’ electronic communications.
- Notify employees that any misuse will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.
- Inform employees that employer may access, search and monitor voice mail, e-mail or company files of any employee that are created, stored or deleted from company computer systems.
- Advise employees they should not expect their communications or use of employer’s computer information systems to be confidential or private.
- Have employees sign company policy or notice on acceptable usage of employer’s computer information systems.
- Consider installing an on-screen warning on the employer’s electronic communications policy that appears every time employees log onto their computers.
If you need help developing a company policy covering acceptable use of technology, give us a call at 844-558-7200. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.