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Overview of the Communications and equipment policy

This document is GDPR compliant.

Clearly outline to your managers and staff the rules and procedures regarding the access to communications and IT equipment and resources. Employees will need to know the extent to which using such communications and resources are permitted at work and the consequences if they breach such policy, as well as the rules allowing the employer to monitor their use. This communications and use of equipment policy also grants the security of such resources against unauthorised access or abuse while ensuring their accessibility to authorised staff.

Use this communications and use of equipment policy

  • to explain to employees the rules and procedures to follow when using communications and other IT resources while at work

This communications and use of equipment policy covers

  • the extent to which use of communications and other IT resources is permitted while at work
  • limits and guidance on use of communications and other IT resources
  • guidance on the types of legal issues arising on use of communications and other IT resources social media including confidentiality, intellectual property infringement, defamation, bullying and harassment
  • password guidance and instructions
  • guidance on the use of email including archiving, disclaimers and confidentiality issues
  • guidance on internet use
  • rules about using communications and other IT resources provided for use outside the workplace, such as laptops and PDAs
  • prohibited uses of communications and other IT resources
  • monitoring of communications and other IT resources use
  • the consequences of breaching the policy

A communications and use of equipment policy is an internal policy that governs the use of IT resources and electronic communication systems within the workplace. It sets outs the extent to which the use of IT resources is permitted at work, in particular the use of PCs and laptops, Internet, emails, software and passwords.

Having a communications and use of equipment policy ensures employees are aware of, and comply with the rules regarding the use IT resources and communication systems while they are at work.

There is no obligation to allow staff to use IT equipment for their personal purposes. This policy makes clear that when personal use is allowed, it must be lawful, reasonable and not interfere with the staff's productivity or duties.

For more information, read Employee Use of IT.

Under this policy, staff must not:

  • alter settings on or interfere with any measures implemented by the employer;
  • visit any gambling, gaming, adult or other inappropriate website that is offensive, insulting, discriminatory or obscene;
  • download any image, file or other data unrelated to business purposes which could be regarded as pornographic, illegal, criminal, offensive or obscene;
  • engage in computer hacking.

Yes, as long as it is justified, employers have the right to monitor and intercept the staff's use of IT resources, including internet use and any communications sent or received.

However, monitoring of communications such as emails, internet use and phone calls engages data protection and privacy issues. For more information, read Employee Data Protection Issues.

This policy applies to all staff of the employer, including employees, consultants, workers.

Ask a lawyer for:

  • changing an existing communications and other IT resources policy that is contractually binding
  • where allegations of breach of privacy arise in connection with employees' use of communications and other IT resources

This communications and use of equipment policy is governed by the law of England and Wales.

Other names for Communications and equipment policy

IT policy and procedure.