Communication, Technology, and Electronic Media

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person or quickly typed an instant message that could be misconstrued? Digital communication can open your organization to liability on several fronts.

We strongly recommend that your organization adopt a policy addressing the permissible uses of your organization’s electronic media and the responsibilities of employees.

While you may modify the policy to fit your organization’s needs, the following items should be included:

  • A statement that your organization owns the equipment and data stored on the systems.
  • Limitations on personal use.
  • A statement listing unacceptable uses (e.g., pornography, etc.).
  • A statement prohibiting unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted software or documentation.
  • A provision stating that employees don’t have a right to privacy in communications at work and that your organization has the right to access, monitor, or review—with or without notice—any information sent or received.


(Name of organization) provides a variety of electronic systems and services to improve the effectiveness of communication and information flow. Electronic media means any electronic program, access, or services, including but not limited to, any computer hardware or software, electronic mail, and the Internet.

Electronic Media Use Policy

(Name of organization’s) electronic media and services have been developed and maintained for the specific use of the organization’s correspondence, communication, and research information gathering. For employees’ convenience and expediency, electronic media may be used for incidental, personal communication and purposes. Good judgment should be used to limit the amount and frequency of such use.

These systems, including the equipment and the data stored in the systems, are the property of (name of organization). Thus, all electronic data or documents created, sent, received, or stored in the systems are this organization’s property.

Employee communications transmitted by the organization’s systems are not considered private. (Name of organization) has the right to access, monitor, inventory, review, audit, delete, and disclose, with or without notice, for any reason, including time and content, all information sent, communicated or stored on the organization’s systems, whether or not they are communications. Additionally, routine system maintenance or troubleshooting by system administrators may result in electronic messages being accessed. This organization reserves the right to remove software, licensed or unlicensed, from any organization-owned equipment at any time.

The organization is not responsible for any privately owned equipment used for the organization’s purposes.

No equipment, hardware, or software, including mobile devices, may be physically attached, installed, or added to organization networks or systems without prior approval from the business administrator. Connecting a personal mobile device to a wireless network provided by the organization is permitted and does not require such approval. The organization reserves the right to remove software, licensed or unlicensed, from any organization-owned equipment at any time.

All other (name of organization) policies, including but not limited to, harassment, confidentiality, social media, and software use policies, apply to the use of electronic media.

Passwords & ID Codes

Access to electronic media is limited to those employees with proper authorization and may require the use of an ID code or password. Employees must keep all passwords confidential and out of public view. Care should be taken in setting passwords to avoid making them easily discoverable. Passwords should not be shared.

Software Use

(Name of organization) will provide necessary software for use on organization computers in accordance with federal copyright law and applicable licensing agreements.

(Name of organization) does not condone the unauthorized reproduction of copyrighted computer software or documentation.

Employees are not permitted to install, execute, run, or load personal or work-related software on organization computers without permission from the business administrator. If you use personal software on an organization computer, with the approval of the business administrator, the organization has the right to request proof of the software license. It is your responsibility to ensure personal software is used in accordance with its license.

(Name of organization) has the right to access, monitor, inventory, review, audit, delete, and disclose, with or without notice, for any reason, including time and content, all information or software sent, communicated or stored on the organization’s systems.

The organization reserves the right to remove software, licensed or unlicensed, from any organization-owned equipment or computer at any time.

Every employee with access to electronic media is responsible for taking the appropriate security measures to prevent loss, misuse and damage, including damage caused by computer viruses. Any unexplained loss or alteration of data should be reported immediately to the business administrator.

Unacceptable Uses

Unacceptable uses of electronic media or communications include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Use for any purpose that violates state or federal laws.
  • Use to transmit or access information that is disruptive to the organization’s operation.
  • Use to transmit or access any content that is illicit, unsavory, abusive, pornographic, discriminatory, harassing, or disrespectful.
  • Use to create any social networking persona or blog that may appear to speak for the organization, but is not approved by the organization.
  • Use to post any information about the organization’s operations or decisions on a blog without the business administrator’s prior approval.
  • Use to falsify the sender’s or author’s identity or to misrepresent another person.
  • Use to transmit or access confidential information to individuals who are not authorized to receive such information.
  • Use to transmit non-critical, non-business broadcast mail/data, distribution of chain letters or other mass distributions that cause stress on any computer or network system or disrupt the operation of the organization.

Abuse of any electronic media or services or violation of this policy, through excessive personal use, or use in violation of law or other (name of organization) policy will be subject to immediate review. The violation may result in disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination of employment. It may also lead to legal action.


Employees should keep in mind that electronic messages can be readily printed, viewed, listened to, or forwarded to other users. Electronic messages also may be mistakenly addressed and sent to the wrong person.

Although there are security measures in place to protect the privacy of internal electronic media and communications, it is impossible to ensure the confidentiality of any electronic message. If you must send sensitive communication or legally protected information to someone outside of this organization, it is imperative that a secured and encrypted method of communication is used. Email sent outside the organization is NOT currently considered a secure method of communication. In using electronic media, employees need to keep in mind the nature of electronic communications.

  • You may not use a non-organization email service to send or receive organization-related information. However, you may use a web-based email account for your personal email and access it from an organization computer. You may also access your organization email account via the Web from a non-organization-owned device.
  • You may not save work-related attachments or files on a personal device (e.g., computer, laptop, tablet, phone, memory stick, etc.). It’s okay to access organization systems, such as email, from a personal device.
  • You may not store organization documents, photos, or files with an Internet service under an account that (name of organization) does not own or manage. However, you may access personal photos or other files you have stored with an Internet service.

This is a sample handbook policy only. Your organization is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. Accordingly, this document should not be used or adopted by your organization without first being reviewed and approved by a licensed attorney in your area. Brotherhood Mutual assumes no liability in preparation and distribution of this sample document.

Working Together © 2022 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved. Updated 9/2021