Employees’ electronic Communications Policies, Resources
The following are steps that companies should consider taking in order to reduce the risks posed by employee electronic communications. Consistent with federal and state law, companies should:
1. Adopt written policies informing employees that they have no legitimate expectation of privacy in e-mail and other electronic communications.
2. Provide notice to all employees that computers, pagers, personal digital assistants and other electronic communications, such as e-mail or phone mail, are the property of the company and should be used for business purposes.
3. Inform the employees that by using the company’s equipment, they are consenting to have such use monitored by authorized company personnel at its discretion. A screen that the employee must respond “yes” to when logging on the computer system can be used to secure this consent in a tangible way.
4. Advise employees that they shall not use a code, access a file or retrieve any stored communications other than when expressly authorized.
5. Advise employees that all computer pass codes must be provided to their supervisors and that no pass code may be used that is not provided to the company.
6. Require that truly confidential communications, such as those on human resource issues or employment related legal claims, be sent by non-electronic means.
7. Allow only employees with a “need to know” to have access to confidential information or trade secrets in electronic format.
8. Limit the location of terminals that have access to confidential information or trade secrets to restricted areas.
9. Restrict access to confidential databases to approved personnel by assigning special passwords.
10. Label all proprietary information or trade secrets, in electronic form or otherwise, as “confidential.”
11. Advise employees that any misuse of the organization’s confidential information or trade secrets will lead to discipline and possible criminal prosecution, where appropriate.