System Management - Office
C.E.S.P. 4-25: E-mail
Date Revised: 8-20-2009
Summary: Establishes policy governing the organization’s right to access e-mail, the employees’ use of e-mail and the appropriate content of e-mail delivered on the organization’s equipment.
I. Management’s Right to Access Information
The electronic mail system has been installed by Cooperative Extension to facilitate business communications. Although each employee has an individual password to access this system, it belongs to the organization and the contents of e-mail communications are accessible at all times by Cooperative Extension management for any business purpose. The e-mail system shall be subject to periodic unannounced inspections and will be treated like other shared filing systems. All system passwords and encryption keys must be available to Extension management.
All e-mail messages are Extension records. The contents of e-mail properly obtained for legitimate business purposes may be disclosed within the organization without the employee’s permission. Therefore, employees should not assume that messages are confidential. Electronic mail files are archived for business and legal purposes and may be retained by the organization for an indefinite period.
II. Personal Use of E-Mail
Cooperative Extension Service provides the electronic mail system to assist employees in the performance of their jobs. Employees should use it for official Cooperative Extension Service business. Incidental and occasional personal use of e-mail is permitted by Cooperative Extension; however, in the event of termination, an employee’s access to his/her e-mail account and any personal material within the e-mail account is immediately terminated.
Personal use should be limited and should not take the form of continuing discourse, gossip, sharing of jokes, chain letters, or other information not germane to one’s job assignment. The system should never be used for such purposes as soliciting or proselytizing for commercial ventures, religious or personal causes, for outside organizations or other similar, not-job-related solicitation. The Cooperative Extension reserves the right to access and disclose as necessary all messages sent over its e-mail system, without regard to content. If Cooperative Extension discovers that any employee is misusing the e-mail system, the employee will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
III. Forbidden Content of E-Mail Communications
Employees may not use Cooperative Extension’s e-mail system in any way that may be seen as insulting, disruptive, or offensive by other persons, or harmful to morale. Examples of forbidden transmissions include sexually-explicit messages, cartoons, or jokes; unwelcome propositions or love letters; ethnic or racial slurs; or any other message that can be construed to be harassment or disparagement of others based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, or religious or political beliefs. Use of Cooperative Extension Service’s e-mail system in violations of this guideline will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
IV. E-Mail Signatures
Employees should create signatures to accompany official business e-mail. The 'prompt for signature' feature should be used for informal e-mails and to prevent multiple postings of the signatures when replying to e-mails that already contain the signatures from previous postings. Signatures should contain
- Address (county office employees should include the county name)
- Business phone number
- Fax number
- E-mail address
Extraneous quotations or other personal statements should not be included with signatures.