Employees may have access to one or more forms of electronic media and services (i.e., computers, e-mail, online services, and the Internet). The Practice encourages the use of these media and associated services because they make communication more efficient and effective and are valuable sources of information. However, electronic media and services provided by the Practice are Practice property, and their purpose is to facilitate Practice business.
The following conditions apply to all electronic media and services that are accessed on or from the premise of the Practice; accessed using Practice computer equipment, or via Practice-paid access methods; and/or used in a manner that identifies the individual with the Practice:
- Electronic media may not be used for knowingly transmitting, retrieving, or storing any communication of a discriminatory or harassing nature, or which is derogatory to any individual group, or which is obscene or X-rated, or of a defamatory or threatening nature, or for “chain letters,” or for any other purpose which is illegal or against Practice policy or contrary to the Practice’s interest.
- Electronic media and services are primarily for business use. Limited, occasional, or incidental use of electronic media (sending or receiving) for personal, non-business purposes is acceptable, as is the case with personal telephone calls; however, employees may not abuse the privilege.
- The Practice reserves the right, in its discretion, to review any employee’s electronic files, messages and usage to the extent necessary to ensure that electronic media and services are being used in compliance with the law and with this and other Practice policies. Employees should not assume electronic communications are private or confidential and should transmit highly sensitive information in other ways. Any employee found to be abusing access to electronic media or services will be subject to disciplinary action.
Privacy laws are relatively new and vary from state to state. Consult with an employment attorney regarding your state’s privacy laws.