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Internet and Electronic Mail Usage Policy

December 1, 2000
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Related Topics: Internet, Technology and the Law, Policies and Procedures, Featured Article
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This sample policy limits personal use of the Internet to non-working hours. Many companies permit personal use during working hours, so long as it does not interfere with work.

The latter may be more appropriate to a professional environment where users may be less likely to abuse the privilege. However, the decision whether to choose a stricter or more liberal policy depends principally on the company's culture. A word of caution: These are only sample poIicies, and each employer should tailor a policy to its own needs, making sure there is no inconsistency between the Internet/e-mail policy and other policies and procedures. The sample is not legal advice and any draft policy should be reviewed by the employer's counsel.


The Internet is a powerful business tool that can provide a great deal of useful information. Unfortunately, it can also be a distraction from productive work time when browsing non-business related sites. In an effort to clarify our position on the use of the Internet while utilizing Company property, we have developed the following guidelines for all employees:

  • Exploring the Internet should be done before or after work hours or during the lunch break. Using appropriate sites for business purposes is unrestricted as long as it is reasonable.

  • Although we have very good virus prevention programs installed, downloading from the Internet should be done with caution. Space is also a potential problem; therefore, downloaded material should be kept under control.

  • The display or transmission of sexually-explicit images, messages or cartoons, or any transmission that contains ethnic slurs, racial epithets, or anything that may be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based on their race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious or political beliefs is not permitted before, during, or after business hours.

  • Use common sense with open Web sites, especially with visitors in the area.

The Company has the right and capability to monitor Internet browsing by each user on our system. However, our goal is that employees will make this unnecessary. At the Company, we have the privilege of Internet access and it is important that we utilize this valuable asset for our mutual benefit.

Electronic mail is to be used for business purposes. While personal electronic mail is permitted, it is to be kept to a minimum. Personal electronic mail should be sent or received as seldom, and be as brief as, possible. No one may solicit, promote or advertise any organization, product or service through the use of electronic mail or anywhere else on Company premises during work hours.

Employees are not permitted to send electronic mail that contains ethnic slurs, racial epithets, or anything that may be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based on their race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious or political beliefs. We reserve the right to determine when an employee is sending excessive or improper electronic mail.

The password feature of the Company s network and telecommunications systems is the foundation for maintaining the confidentiality of the Company s communication system. Passwords, system telephone numbers, and similar information may not be disseminated to the public and must be retained as confidential information by the user. For privacy reasons, employees may not attempt to gain access to another employee s personal file of e-mail messages without the latter s express permission.

The electronic mail is a Company asset and is subject to review or monitoring at any time without notice.

This policy may be revised from time to time as the Company gains more experience with the Internet and e-mail.

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