Guide

Sample IT policies, disclaimers and notices

Sample acceptable email use policy

An email acceptable use policy sets out your employees' responsibilities when using email in their day-to-day working activities. To modify the sample below for your business, download our sample business acceptable email use policy (DOC, 26K).

Acceptable email use policy - sample template

Use of email by employees of [business name] is permitted and encouraged where such use supports the goals and objectives of the business.

However, [business name] has a policy for the use of email whereby the employee must ensure that they:

  • comply with current legislation
  • use email in an acceptable way
  • do not create unnecessary business risk to the company by their misuse of the internet

Unacceptable behaviour

The following behaviour by an employee is considered unacceptable:

  • use of company communications systems to set up personal businesses or send chain letters
  • forwarding of company confidential messages to external locations
  • distributing, disseminating or storing images, text or materials that might be considered indecent, pornographic, obscene or illegal
  • distributing, disseminating or storing images, text or materials that might be considered discriminatory, offensive or abusive, in that the context is a personal attack, sexist or racist, or might be considered as harassment
  • accessing copyrighted information in a way that violates the copyright
  • breaking into the company's or another organisation's system or unauthorised use of a password/mailbox
  • broadcasting unsolicited personal views on social, political, religious or other non-business related matters
  • transmitting unsolicited commercial or advertising material
  • undertaking deliberate activities that waste staff effort or networked resources
  • introducing any form of computer virus or malware into the corporate network

Monitoring

[business name] accepts that the use of email is a valuable business tool. However, misuse of this facility can have a negative impact upon employee productivity and the reputation of the business.

In addition, all of the company's email resources are provided for business purposes. Therefore, the company maintains the right to examine any systems and inspect any data recorded in those systems.

In order to ensure compliance with this policy, the company also reserves the right to use monitoring software in order to check upon the use and content of emails. Such monitoring is for legitimate purposes only and will be undertaken in accordance with a procedure agreed with employees.

Sanctions

Where it is believed that an employee has failed to comply with this policy, they will face the company's disciplinary procedure. If the employee is found to have breached the policy, they will face a disciplinary penalty ranging from a verbal warning to dismissal. The actual penalty applied will depend on factors such as the seriousness of the breach and the employee's disciplinary record. [These procedures will be specific to your business. They should reflect your normal operational and disciplinary processes. You should establish them from the outset and include them in your acceptable use policy.]

Agreement

All company employees, contractors or temporary staff who have been granted the right to use the company's email services are required to sign this agreement confirming their understanding and acceptance of this policy.