Internet Usage Policy

A company’s Internet Use Policy describes acceptable and unacceptable internet activity of its employees at work.

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Not all companies conduct business online exclusively, but most will require employees to use the internet in one way or another. With the always-available internet connection at work, cyberslacking is not a novelty by any means. This is why the Internet Use Policy is a useful tool most companies implement, but not just to regulate cyberslacking.

Companies choose to create an Internet Use Policy to protect themselves from security breaches and the employees from sharing confidential information,

What Is an Internet Use Policy?

The Internet Use Policy prevents employees from misusing the company's computers and internet access. Furthermore, it also acts as a guide to what is considered acceptable internet usage at the workplace.

For example, most companies do not allow employees to download music or movies at work, mostly if it is pirated. The Internet Use Policy protects the employer if an employee chooses to commit an illegal activity using the company's internet access.

Finally, the policy ensures that the employee does not knowingly or unknowingly share passwords, company credentials, and valuable data via the internet.

Other Names for Internet Use Policy

Depending on your state, an Internet Use Policy may also be known as:

  • Computer, Email, and Internet Usage Policy
  • Employee Internet Usage Policy
  • Company Internet Policy
  • Computer Usage Policy
  • Workplace Internet Policy
  • IAP (Internet Access Policy)

Who Needs an Internet Use Policy?

Any company or employer with at least one employee benefits from having an Internet Use Policy. Without it, there are no clear rules on how the employees will use the company-provided internet. The document also provides proof that the employer has communicated these rules to employees.

Why Use 360 Legal Forms for Your Internet Use Policy

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Create your own documents by answering our easy-to-understand questionnaires to get exactly what you need out of your Internet Use Policy.

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How to Create an Internet Use Policy with 360 Legal Forms

Most employers have somewhat similar definitions of acceptable and unacceptable online activity of employees at work. Even then, while some rules are apparent, others should be explicitly listed. All you need to do is focus on the actions you want to discourage, and we will do the rest.

Let 360 Legal Forms help with our extensive library of attorney-vetted legal forms. The process is fast and easy. All you have to do is fill out our easy-to-understand questionnaire. Once complete, simply download your form as a PDF or Word document from your secure online account.

What Information Will I Need to Create My Internet Use Policy?

To create your document, please provide:

  • Company Details: The legal name of the company, address, and governing state.
  • Prohibited Use: List all internet activities considered inappropriate or prohibited by the company.
  • Acceptable Use: List the sample internet activities deemed appropriate and proper on the part of the employees.
  • Disciplinary Action: An explanation of the sanctions or penalties applicable should an employee violate the Internet Use Policy.
  • Exceptions: Describe potential exceptions to the general rules.
  • Acknowledgment: A statement where an employee acknowledges to have read and understood the Internet Use Policy.
  • Contact Person: The name and contact information of the company's designated representative.
  • Signature: Each employee signs the Internet Use Policy.

Internet Use Policy Terms

  • Policy: A system of rules and principles created to achieve a particular outcome
  • Scope: The extent of a subject matter
  • EIM: Employee Internet Management, usually as pertains to software use
  • Employee Handbook: A staff manual describing the expectations and governing values of a company
  • Copyright: A class of intellectual property, often time-limited
  • Piracy: The act of copying someone else's work without authorization
  • Incendiary: Inflammatory
  • Cyberslacking: Slacking at work as relates to using company properties for personal matters only

Internet Use Policy Signing Requirements

The Internet Use Policy should be presented to any new employee. The manager or supervisor should submit the document to the employee and ask them to sign it. You do not have to worry about having a witness present, nor does the form require notarization.

What to Do with Your Internet Use Policy

The employer should keep all signed copies of the Internet Use Policy from all employees, usually with the HR department or wherever employee files are kept. After signing, an employee should also keep a copy of the Internet Use Policy in paper or digital form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Just as the Internet Use Policy covers employee online activity, it should also describe the acceptable usage of company-owned equipment like computers, laptops, cell phones, and the like. Use the Internet Use Policy to specify inappropriate and appropriate uses of company properties. For example, the employer may forbid any downloads on company devices.

Sometimes employers may choose to create a social media policy in addition to the Internet Use Policy. This is because social media often requires more detailed guidelines regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. The Social Media Policy would ensure that the company’s reputation is not damaged by an employee’s knowing or unknowing action. The guide should describe what is expected of employees’ personal social media accounts and the company's social media accounts as pertains to their management.

The short answer is yes. It is improbable for anyone to get fired for looking up something non-work-related from time to time, but cumulatively, that could lead to termination. Most companies will inform employees of the expectations of internet use in advance. But each may have different enforcement of the rules.

Not having an Internet Use Policy is not advisable for any company. If there are no guidelines of what is allowed and not allowed, the company may be vulnerable to security breaches. The Wi-Fi network could become compromised and open to cyber-attacks. The reputation of the company could be in jeopardy as well.

In the United States, employee monitoring is legal and relatively unregulated. In fact, only in Delaware and Connecticut are employers obligated to inform employees about any monitoring beforehand. However, employers often choose to disclose the intention to monitor regardless. An employer can not only monitor employee internet, email, and social media activity, but it can also track its fleet of company cars with a GPS.

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