Office Acceptable Use Policy

As an employer, you should plan to implement an Acceptable Use Policy if you plan to initiate an office monitoring solution. You should have a clear and absolute Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in place that is made known to all the employees.

A well written employee handbook should always include an acceptable use policy relating to the employee computer use. The policy should include references to acceptable use of chat and instant messaging, blogging, bulk email, content filtering and email retention. Over half of businesses are sued by past employees, with the standard fine of $250,000. A well written employee policy handbook can usually resolve disputes before they start protecting you from possible legal action.

You should always consult with experts who have done the research. You need to protect your business with policies written by experts. There are companies like Template Zone that have done the research for you and already have the documents laid out for you, saving you time and money. See what Template Zone can do for you.
The policy should be a joint effort of HR and Management.

A Solid AUP should have the following traits clearly defined:

  • Is in writing and signed by the employee and employer
  • Is clearly communicated to all employees
  • Sets out permissible uses of both e-mail and Internet
  • Specifies the prohibited/inappropriate uses
  • States what monitoring, if any, will take place
  • Sets out privacy rules in relation to employer’s right to monitor and the nature and extent of such monitoring
  • Outline how the policy is enforced and penalties that exist for a breach of policy
  • Set out any restrictions on material that can be viewed or copied, giving examples of types of material
  • If you think your company doesn’t need an office policy manual – You May be Wrong

According to a U.S. Department of Justice study, the number of employment discrimination and harassment cases filed grows exponentially through the years.

The average range of settlement costs is between $150,000-$250,000.
Compliance and ethics violations can disrupt your business, create a negative workplace atmosphere, lead to higher employee turnover and damage your business’ reputation.

According to a survey by International Data Corp (IDC), 30 to 40% of Internet access is spent on non-work related browsing, and a staggering 60% of all online purchases are made during working hours.

A Sample Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

(Your Company Name) is providing you with Internet email and/or Internet access. Use of this tool is governed by the following Acceptable Internet Use Policy. If a user violates any of the acceptable use provisions outlined in this document, his/her account will be terminated and future access will be denied. Some violations may also constitute a criminal offense and may result in legal action. Any user violating these provisions or any applicable state or federal laws is subject to loss of access privileges and any other disciplinary actions as determined necessary by (Your Company Name).

The rest of the policy should clearly define Acceptable Use, Privileges, Netiquette, Security, Harassment and the Penalties involved with violating the policy.
Template Zone has a comprehensive and easy to use Employee Handbook, HR Forms, Labor Posters and More. See some samples here.