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Acceptable Use policies

Does your company have, use and monitor its employees vis a vis Acceptable Use policies? Examples of different policies are: - Computer and E-Mail Acceptable Use Policy - Internet Acceptable Use Policy - Password Protection Policy - Social Media and Blogging Policies From Other Sites


Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


Yes, but full of tensions and gray-areas.
*Knowledge workers need to work their connections, so FB and LI and such are critical, but there is a very gray line between social and business. It is hard to discriminate based on roles.
*Passwords: lots of disinformation here (like change it every 6 months). That being said, it is worth having a smart policy (like, "use a pass phrase or two" translating to "[email protected]")
*Computer and E-mail: less gray there. No personal use what so ever. Check your personal email at home, or stay there. If you've got a mobile device, OK, but separate the accounts.
*Internet: I've usually stuck to the basics. No entertainment, no personal use. If you're doing Christmas shopping on Amazon, do it on your own time/own machine.
*Social / Blogging: Never in reference to your own company. Further, your personal life needs to reflect well on the company, though it is harder to write that and not infringe on personal liberties. Best is to think of 19th century mores and go from there: you're not allowed to run naked through the streets; similarly, if some online infamy causes a disturbance, then it can be grounds for a discussion. This can be very different at different companies...certain companies, especially in the media space, and their employees, can be very vulnerable, and the employees need to be sensitive to that.


Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Yes, we do. But, IMHO it's a legal minefield.

Our policies are basically, "don't do it" much as Keith outlined. But, everyone including the CEO is ignoring it and combining personal and work when it comes to email, online shopping, company issued cell phones, etc. Until of course, there's an issue and the policies are trotted out as part of a disciplinary action. Which, is why I say it's a legal minefield.

It's only going to take a good employment attorney to make a disparity of treatment claim and subpoena the records for the top dogs (myself included) to show that the policies were not applied uniformly and thus, must point to some sort of illegal discriminatory practice in the case at hand.

Worst of all, we're a public agency. And, the courts have held that under Federal and CA laws regarding public information, everything we do at work, related to work or on work equipment is subject to public records act requests.

Go ask the Mayor and Chief of Police in Oakland how that works when you try and communicate via cellphone text to keep things off the record and the press requests copies of all those texts. ;-(

Frankly, I support the more draconian "don't do it" policies. They are reasonable expectations of the employment relationship. An honest day's work for an honest day's pay.

I've mentioned here before the ridiculous amount of personal communications going on via PDAs at the office during work hours and how some employees will even ignore you while they finish texting their spouses. But the only way to make those policies work is to enforce them to the letter for all concerned.

The flip side of those draconian policies by the way is for an organization to stay out of people's personal lives when they aren't at work. That's another complicated and legal liability issue for public agencies.


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