Computer, Internet and Email Policy

Overview

[Insert company name] (“The Company”) provides its staff members with computer, email and internet facilities for business purposes, in order that they may carry out their duties and responsibilities of their role.

Use of computer, email or internet facilities in a manner contrary to this policy may result in access being withdrawn and/or other disciplinary measures being instituted.

Serious breaches may result in termination of employment. Refer to clause 11, “Breach of this policy”.

All use of the Company’s computer, email and internet facilities, whether for business or personal purposes, must conform with the principles contained within this and any other relevant Company policies.

Scope of policy

This Policy is applicable to all employees of the Company, whatever level or position you may hold. It applies to all usage of company computers, email, internet and any other form of communication using any form of technology, whether or not that technology exists at the time of this policy. It covers, for example, desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablet devices and other technology capable of sending, receiving or storing electronic data and messages or images, in any format.

This Policy does not form part of your contract of employment, but constitutes a reasonable and lawful direction to you as an employee. The Company takes the use of computers, email and the internet seriously and you should refer to clause 11, “Breach of this policy”, in relation to the consequences of failure to follow this direction.

Personal use of computer, email and internet facilities

The Company recognises that staff members will, on occasion, require computer resources, particularly email and internet facilities for some limited and reasonable personal purposes. Limited and reasonable personal use of computer, email and internet facilities is acceptable to the extent that it does not interfere in any way with the proper discharge of the staff member’s duties and does not negatively impact upon the use of the facilities by any other staff member. Any personal use must be in accordance with this and other relevant Company policies.

Staff members must not use Company’s computer, email and internet resources for inappropriate purposes. Without being at all exhaustive, inappropriate purposes includes any purpose set out in clause 6.8.

Privacy

To ensure compliance with the Company’s internal policies as well as applicable laws and regulations, and to ensure employee safety, the Company reserves the right to monitor, inspect, and/or search at any time all the Company’s information systems.

The use of email, internet and computers by staff members may be subject to surveillance and monitoring on an ongoing basis by all means available to the Company, including by way of accessing, reviewing, and monitoring all data and messages stored, sent or received over the Company’s electronic communication systems (including email and internet) or on the Company’s computers. For the avoidance of doubt, this policy constitutes notice of surveillance for the purposes of applicable workplace surveillance legislation.

The Company’s information systems that may be subject to such examination include, but are not limited to, computers, electronic mail system files, personal computer hard drive files, voicemail files, printer spool files, and fax machine output.

Since the Company computers and networks are provided for business purposes as a work tool, the Company retains the right to remove from its information systems any material it views as offensive or potentially illegal.

The Company will endeavour to respect the privacy of staff member communications. However, staff members should be aware of the following:

  • use of email and internet will be monitored by the Company to ensure compliance with this policy. This monitoring may bring to light actual, or suspected, breaches of this email and internet policy;
  • communications will be viewed if it comes to the attention of the Company that a staff member has been (or may have been) using email and internet facilities in a manner contrary to this policy. This includes communications sent for business or personal purposes;
  • any communications sent, received or stored by staff members using the Company’s network facilities are the property of the Company, not of the staff member;
  • copies of all email communications may be stored in back up files, irrespective of whether a staff member has personally deleted email from his or her account;
  • email is discoverable in legal proceedings and the Company is obligated by law to retain copies of email for a period of time;
  • email communications and logs of internet activity may be viewed by the Company where necessary.

Login and Passwords

Employees are required to use identifiers and passwords to gain access to the Company’s electronic systems and devices. You are required to:

  • keep you user ID’s and passwords secure;
  • use uncommon combinations of letters and numbers when creating passwords;
  • use different passwords on different devices;
  • regularly change passwords;
  • keep passwords confidential and not provide your passwords to anyone;
  • not remove, or attempt to remove, password protection from any information system or device;
  • ensure that any device which you set up is, wherever possible, set up to require a password that complies with this policy;
  • report any instance of passwords being shared or abused.

Guide to proper use of computer, email and internet facilities

Email is often used informally. Communications of this type can reflect badly on the Company if sent to clients and business contacts. Staff members should compose any work related emails in the same style as a business letter.

Staff members must properly identify themselves in emails or other communications sent using the Company’s electronic facilities. Your full name, position, the Company’s telephone and facsimile numbers, and Company’s website address should appear as follows:

Joe Smith
[Insert position title]
[Insert company name]
Telephone: (0X) XXXX XXXX
Facsimile: (0X) XXXX XXXX
[insert company email]

It is your responsibility to ensure that this signature appears on all your outgoing email.

No profane or otherwise inappropriate language should be used in any communications.

Unless it is required for legitimate work purposes, staff members must not download material from the internet, or send or receive emails that require a large amount of bandwidth, such as streaming video or audio, or large picture files. This can cause the Company’s entire system to slow down and adversely impact upon other staff members’ use of the electronic facilities.

The sending and forwarding of jokes is strongly discouraged. This is because jokes may be in bad taste, or may harass or vilify a group of people. Staff should be aware that sending or forwarding such material may constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment and a breach of this policy and/or the Company’s Anti-Discrimination and EEO policy, and Workplace Bullying policy. Breach of any one of these policies may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

Staff members must not distribute any electronic chain messages.

Staff members must not attempt to or actually impersonate another staff member or log on as someone else.

Under no circumstances should any staff member possess, access, display, archive, edit, record, use, view, send, store or download any type of material, through use of the Company’s computer, internet or email that:

  • is fraudulent;
  • is harassing, abusive, threatening or intimidating, or which could constitute bullying, or which does, or potentially, affects the health or safety of another person;
  • contains material that could be considered to negatively reflect upon a particular race, gender, religion, colour, national origin, disability, sexual preference or marital status;
  • is sexually explicit, profane or obscene (including, but not limited to, pornography of any kind, or material which is associated with the exploitation of children in any form);
  • is related in any way to terrorist activity or could be seen to suggest support of such activities;
  • is destructive to the Company’s computing facilities or reputation;
    criticises the Company or any of its employees;
  • is defamatory;
  • infringes copyright;
  • is pirated;
  • any reasonable person might consider to be offensive;
  • is competitive with the business of the Company or is connected to a business that
  • is not related to the Company;
  • does not comply with this Policy; or
  • is unlawful (or potentially unlawful);

Breach of this clause may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the particular staff member.

Receipt of offensive material

Where a staff member receives an email or a message that they consider to be inappropriate or offensive from a person within the Company, subject to the below, they should delete the email and request the sender not to send such material again.

If the person continues to send emails that are inappropriate or offensive, or the material which has been sent is considered to be illegal or seriously offensive (for example, the email is part of a bullying or harassment campaign, or contains sexually explicit images, or pornography), the staff member should immediately advise a Supervisor and follow the direction of the supervisor in relation to deleting or responding to such material.

If inappropriate or offensive material comes from a client, the matter should be raised with a Supervisor.

Copyright

Staff members must be mindful of not infringing copyright when they use email and the internet. The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) provides authors of literary, dramatic or musical works or the creators of artistic works with such exclusive rights as reproducing, publishing and communicating their works. It is an infringement of that copyright if someone exercises those rights without the permission of the owner.

  • Copyright can be infringed by using email or the internet in many ways. For example, by:
  • downloading a copyrighted work without permission;
  • posting a copyrighted work on a web site or bulletin board without permission; or
    emailing copyrighted works to others without permission.

Generally, personal research is permitted, but if copyrighted material is to be distributed to others or used for business purposes, staff members should ensure that they have the permission of the copyright owner.

Defamation

The informality with which people often use email increases the likelihood of someone saying something inappropriate or defamatory about another person. It is also very easy for emails to be read out of context, again increasing the likelihood of defamatory statements being made.

The Company will not tolerate the sending of communications over its email system or the internet that are derogatory or defamatory of other staff members or of any other person. Staff members should remain polite and respect the feelings and beliefs of others in all electronic communications.

Security

The Company has installed a variety of firewalls, proxies, Internet address screening programmes and/or other security systems to assure the integrity, safety and security of the Company’s network and to limit access to certain sites. You must not attempt to disable, defeat or circumvent these systems.

As set out above, passwords are an important aspect of security. Employees should not share passwords or record passwords in writing.

Breach of this policy

This policy is to be strictly adhered to. As detailed below, breach of this policy can have very serious consequences. All staff members must familiarise themselves with this document.

Contravention of this policy may result in disciplinary action being taken by the Company against the offending staff member. Such disciplinary action may include the limitation of access to computer, email and/or the internet and in serious cases may result in termination of employment.

Where the Company forms the view that misuse of its electronic assets may constitute an offence, the Company will refer the matter to the Police or other relevant authority.

Where a staff member believes that a breach of this policy may have occurred, he or she should report the matter to his or her Supervisor.

Free Computer, Internet & Email Policy

This free Australian Computer, Internet & Email Policy template will outline your organisation’s expectations around employee's use of computers, internet and email and protect your company when situations arise as a result of employee misconduct.

By downloading this template, you agree to use it at your own risk and under your own legal advice. Nothing on this site should be considered legal advice.