||Oracle Tips by Burleson
Policy for the Monitoring and Use of the Internet and Emails
By nature of their jobs and background, IT
professionals are heavy email users in their daily work activities.
Not only is electronic mail used for work purposes, but personal email
is also exchanged via company resources. Sometimes the content of
email is inappropriate for various reasons.
In Owens v.
Morgan Stanley and Co., race discriminationwas claimed when email with improper content was initiated at work
and distributed to white employees. Another case involving an oil
company led to a sexual harassment lawsuit regarding email that
contained sexually-oriented jokes about women. The plaintiff settled
for $2.2 million.
All IT organizations and companies as a whole
should monitor the online activities of employees to reduce the
exposure by the company to any possible liabilities. The Electronic
Communications Privacy Act(ECPA), a Federal
statute, allows employers to monitor company email and internet use.
According to the 2001 Electronic Policies and Practices Survey, 62
percent of employers legally monitor employees’ email and internet
access, and 68 percent of employers who perform monitoring note
liability as their top reason for engaging in this activity.
Even though monitoring is legal, disgruntled
employees that have been fired may still file suit for invasion of
privacy. Therefore, in conjunction with the actual act of
monitoring, the IT organization and company must have a written
Internet and Email Use policy defined, documented, and published. This
policy must declare that:
Employees do not have a reasonable expectation
The employer has the right to monitor the
company’s information and electronic systems at any time, with and
The company and IT organization will monitor
internet and email usage.
It would be most beneficial for the employer to
have all employees review and acknowledge by signature the Internet
and Email Use policy.
Email Use Policy Case
The decision favored the employer in a case of
electronic privacy involving Smyth
v. The Pillsbury Company. The Pennsylvania State court
determined that the termination of an employee based on the review of
emails was legal. Even though Pillsbury Company had previously stated
that all employee emails were confidential, would not be intercepted,
and would not be used for terminating employees, the State court
declared that no employee has a reasonable expectation of privacyregarding electronic mail that
is transferred via company systems.
monitoring internet and email use, 83.1 percent have a written
internet policy, and 86.9 percent have a written email policy.
- 2001 Electronic
Policies and Practices Survey
Download your Oracle scripts now:
definitive Oracle Script collection for every Oracle professional DBA