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Use of E-mails – Advice to employers


The following article was originally produced by sister site LawZONE

How to teach your employees how to use their emails safely.

LawZONE recently reported how e-mails are increasingly being used as evidence in court cases such as employment tribunal disputes. Cisco Systems has come out with the following advice:

“1. Set a clear policy that employees should not create liability for the company through their e-mail use. Two major areas of potential liability are libel and maintaining a positive workplace environment.

2. Make it clear via a privacy policy that the employer has the right to control and monitor the e-mail equipment. Make it known that because the company owns the office and e-mail equipment, it has the right to monitor activities that employees conduct on that equipment—including e-mail exchanges, telephone conversations, and Web browsing—for a variety of reasons, including network security, legal orders, and personnel matters.

3. Train employees to mark messages and materials as to whether they can be forwarded. Add “Confidential” at the top of messages you want to keep private. Although some organizations use standard confidentiality statements on all messages, overuse of privacy statements can undermine their effectiveness.

4. Develop a clear document-retention policy. Storing messages and attachments indefinitely increases a company’s exposure to risk. Set a specific time period, such as 90 days, for which employees should retain messages before deleting them. System administrators can manage this easily by using e-mail programs that store messages on central servers rather than programs that download messages to end users’ computers”.

Apart from this employers are told to make sure that staff are aware of the indelible nature of e-mails and that communication by e-mail can incriminate employees and the companies they work for.

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