Security & Confidentiality
All employees are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity and good faith. If you feel that serious misbehaviour is occurring you have a responsibility to help us to stop it.
Serious misbehaviour includes the following:
- a criminal offence
- the breach of a legal obligation
- a miscarriage of justice
- danger to the health and safety of any individual
- damage to the environment
- that information of the type set out above has been or is likely to be deliberately concealed.
If you become aware of any information of this nature which causes you concern, you should raise the matter informally with the Employee Relations Consultant and discuss with him the next steps which should be taken. We will ensure that any disclosure made is kept as confidential as possible; however, you should be aware that it may be necessary to divulge such information during the course of any investigation. If an investigation into the allegations is thought necessary, you will be informed that the allegations will be put to the person accused of wrongdoing.
You will be informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation into the allegations.
If you are unhappy with the way in which your disclosure is received or dealt with, you should immediately raise that concern with the Managing Director. We are committed to ensuring that no employee is subjected to any detriment, or victimised, by reason of having made a disclosure in good faith, and will do everything within our power to investigate the matter fully and take the appropriate action against any wrongdoer. You should also be aware that provided certain conditions are met, you are protected by the law against suffering any detriment -for example dismissal - by reason of having made the disclosure.
However, if you make a disclosure which you do not believe to be true, or which is made maliciously or with some ulterior motive (such as a grudge against a fellow employee), this may be treated as a disciplinary matter and dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure.
The copyright and any other intellectual property rights relating to any invention or discovery made by you during the course of your employment with the Company shall vest completely in us, and shall belong to us free from all claims (wherever made). To the extent that any such rights vest in you in law, then you hereby assign these to us upon signing and returning the Employee Handbook Return Slip to the Company.
COMMUNICATIONS OR STATEMENTS TO THE MEDIA
Only a Director of the Company is authorised to make any communication or statement to the media in matters relating to the business.
You must promptly notify us of all other employment which you undertake. We will not allow any other employment which we deem to be either in direct competition or presents a conflict of interest with ourselves or our operation, but we will not object to any other employment provided it does not interfere with your ability to satisfactorily fulfill the job we employ you to do.
This information is also required in order that there is no infringement of the Working Time Regulations.
COMPUTER RULES FOR COMPUTER USERS
It is vital that the following procedures are adhered to. It will be a disciplinary offence not to comply with these instructions and, in a serious case, this could include summary dismissal.
Use of Software
No software is to be loaded onto any PC without approval by a Director. Software for which we only purchased one licence must be used only on the machine it was purchased for, and not loaded onto extra machines. Software from magazines, games etc must not be loaded onto your computer.
If there is any software already on your machine for which you are unsure whether we have a licence, please give the details to the Company Secretary. Machines will be checked at regular intervals to ensure all software is legal.
You may not upload data, files, programmes etc from outside sources onto your PC without your Reporting Manager’s permission.
In instances when we need to use external data, all discs containing such data must be virus checked before being loaded onto your computer. This can be done using the virus checker software on your PC.
In addition, discs and tapes that have been used on computers other than those owned by the Company should also be virus checked. If you are uncertain how to carry out this procedure, please discuss it first with your Reporting Manager.
Other Misscellaneous Rules regarding Internet & Email at Work
- Passwords for access to the system are confidential and must not be revealed to other employees.
- Playing games on the system, or individual computers is forbidden except in authorised breaks.
- Upon the discovery of computer virus and/or corrupted information, your Reporting Manager must be advised immediately.
- Access to Internet is restricted to work use. Private use is forbidden except in authorised breaks.
- The sending of e-mails is restricted to business use only.
- The creation, generation, and distribution of material that is offensive on the grounds of sex, race, colour, nationality, religion or belief, ethnic or national origin, marital or civil partner status, sexual orientation, political opinion/affiliation, age or disability is forbidden.
- It is forbidden to use the computer system to generate and/or distribute material which is offensive to or ridicules other employees.
- The storage of any kind of offensive material (including pornography) on the computer system is expressly forbidden.
- In these rules material will be considered offensive if it causes distress to the person who receives or discovers it.
- The Company considers any breach of these rules to be Gross Misconduct for which the normal sanction will be summary dismissal.
The Company’s Email system may not be used to broadcast solicitations for political or charitable organisations, to place personal advertisements for flat/house shares, theatre or sporting tickets, used cars, etc., to seek references for personal services, or for other personal reasons. E-mail in our business is not to be used to distribute such messages but may only be used for transmission of business-related information.
E-mail must be read promptly to avoid capacity and other problems, and mail should be deleted not only from the screen but also from delete facilities (including any recycle bin) at regular intervals. Please bear in mind you should not always expect an immediate response to e-mail and anything important should be followed up by a telephone call.
Important Points to note:
(a) E-mail is often treated far more informally than other forms of business communication accordingly sentiments and opinions are expressed which would not normally materialise in writing.
(b) E-mail can be copied and circulated much more easily than any traditional communication; an e-mail sent to a single recipient could be posted on the Internet with a click of a button even without the sender’s permission.
(c) It is extremely easy to inadvertently misaddress an e-mail with disastrous consequences (e.g. including, by clicking “Reply to All” when reply to a more limited circulation is intended).
(d) E-mail is in a more permanent form than traditional communication; e-mail cannot be deleted easily and back-up copies will not only exist upon the sender’s or recipient’s PC but also the employer’s network and if sent through a commercial service, it may pass through several computers each of which will hold a copy which may be retrieved.
(e) E-mail is discoverable in legal proceedings and accordingly could expose the sender and his/her employer to liability for its contents particularly if the contents are defamatory, involve an infringement of copyright or a breach of confidence.
(f) Incorrect use of e-mail may destroy the protection of legal privilege enjoyed by legal communications.
(g) In certain jurisdictions legal proceedings may now be served via e-mail.
(h) Internal company e-mail may be used to support claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination and to prove industrial espionage.
(i) Offers of employment or contracts transmitted via e-mail are as legally binding on the Company as those sent on paper.
Confidentiality of E-Mail
(a) Subject to the above, E-mail is to be read only by the persons to whom it is addressed. Unless you have the recipient’s express permission, one person is not to read another person’s e-mail.
(b) All e-mail users, however, should realise that the Company cannot assure the absolute confidentiality of any e-mail message. Where confidentiality and security are important, an alternative to e-mail should be considered.
(c) Just as the Company cannot assure confidentiality of e-mail messages, you should have no expectation of privacy in the content of e-mail messages. Among other things, as explained below, e-mail messages may be archived and are not really private, even if only sent to one person. If you would be embarrassed by the public disclosure of an e-mail message, then it is not appropriate to send the message via e-mail.
(d) The Company periodically monitors e-mail but may inspect e-mail messages under any circumstances at any time and without notice.
(e) Users should be aware that emails they have sent may well be forwarded to other recipients. If the email is a private and confidential matter users may consider email to be inappropriate and should consider the use of a password protected attachment or an alternative means of communication.
(a) E-mail to or from a lawyer or other professional representing the Company must be marked in the subject line Private & Confidential Lawyer Client Privilege, Do Not Forward Without Permission.
(b) Do not express opinions or thoughts in e-mail which may be defamatory as this may render you and/or the Company to a libel action. Also, remain mindful at all times that statements made by an employee on the Company’s system can be held in law to have been made by the Company. In such cases, there may be legal liability on the part of both the Company and the individual employee who made the statement(s) concerned.
Inappropriate Distribution of E-Mail
Everyone is strongly encouraged to consider carefully the groups to whom e-mail messages are distributed. It is not uncommon to see an individual in one office send an e-mail message to all individuals in all offices or other locations. Sometimes this may be appropriate, but often a more limited distribution would be better.
If you receive e-mail that is not addressed to you, it must be returned immediately unread.
Ownership of E-Mail
The Company’s e-mail system belongs to the Company, and messages sent using the system constitute Company work product. Thus, like all work product, the contents of e-mail messages belong to the Company. In order to ensure the Company's continuous access to information on the Company’s system, no employee shall use personal hardware or software to encrypt any e-mail or voicemail or any other data stored in or communicated by the Company’s system of electronic communications, except in accordance with express prior written permission from the Company’s Board.
Employees who feel that they have cause for complaint as a result of communications via the Company’s systems should invoke the Grievance or other relevant Procedure at the earliest opportunity.
A breach of this policy shall render the employee(s) concerned liable to disciplinary action which, in serious cases, could include summary dismissal.
Users have a duty to report the following to your Reporting Manager:
- suspicious emails/email attachments
- obscene/illegal material found on a PC or records of obscene/illegal web sites visited
- persistent use of the Internet for personal reasons
- downloading of illegal material