Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do you know? 10 tips for drafting a workplace electronic communications policy

Does your business have an electronic communications policy? Last week, Bowman v. Butler Township provided a gentle reminder of why your business should have one. Here are some points to consider when putting a technology policy in place in your workplace.

  1. Is your technology limited to work-related use only, or will you permit some personal non-work use? For example, can email be used for personal reasons? What websites (YouTube, Amazon, eBay, CNN, ESPN?) are off-limits?

  2. Account for the handling of your business’s trade secrets, confidential, and proprietary information.

  3. Remind employees of their non-harassment obligations. Offensive, demeaning, or disruptive messages should always be prohibited, as should offensive racist, discriminatory, or sexual content.

  4. Advise employees that what is transmitted over the company’s system belongs to the company and employee do not have any expectation of privacy.

  5. Whatever degree of monitoring you are going to undertake, let employees know and obtain their consent.

  6. For how long are you going to store electronic content and how often is it deleted? Tie together your communications policy and records retention policy.

  7. Are employees allowed to remove electronic data from the workplace?

  8. Provide for virus protection.

  9. Don’t forget social media.

  10. As with all employment policies, account for discipline for violations.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.