Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies

Email, Social Media, Cell Phones & More

Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies

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Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies

New Edition!

, 5th Edition

Create and execute the best technology policies for your workplace - from employee use of cell phones and social media to email and blogs. With Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies, learn how to protect your business with policies that addresses:

  • internet use, including email and social media
  • blogs (personal and business)
  • cell phones and tablets
  • bring your own device (BYOD) policies

Includes all of the sample technology policies and practical advice you need to protect your business!

Product Details

Create reasonable and enforceable tech policies

Worried that your company’s employees might post trade secrets on Facebook, send harassing email, or text while driving on company business? Advances in workplace technology bring big benefits, but they can also bring legal exposure.

Avoid trouble before it starts by developing clear, specific policies—or updating the ones you already have. Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies provides a must-have resource for employers and HR managers to adopt effective rules for employee use of:

  • email
  • social media, such as Twitter and Facebook
  • instant messaging
  • mobile devices, including cell phones and tablets, and
  • company and personal blogs.

Packed with sample tech policies, practical advice, and real-world examples, the fifth edition covers the latest trends, including the vital role of information technology (IT) expertise in the workplace.

"The potential legal traps facing employers are well articulated in Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies" - Journal of High Technology Law, Suffolk University Law School


Number of Pages
Included Forms

  • Computer and Software Use Policy
  • Email Policy
  • Internet Policy
  • Instant Messaging Policy
  • Blogs and Personal Posting Policy
  • Cell Phone Policy
  • Portable Computing Device Policy
  • Camera Phone Policy
  • Electronic Communications and Equipment Policy Acknowledgment Form
  • Company-Sponsored Social Media Policy

About the Author

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why You Need Technology Policies

  • The Risks Posed by Technology
  • How Technology Policies Can Help
  • Using This Book

1. Drafting Effective Technology Policies

  • How Technology Policies Can Help Your Company
  • Creating Your Policies

2. Computers and Software

  • Computers
  • Software
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Computer and Software Use Policy

3. Email

  • Personal Use of Email System
  • Privacy
  • Monitoring
  • Content Rules
  • Viruses and Other Security Threats
  • Retention and Deletion
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Email Policy

4. Internet Use

  • Personal Use of the Internet
  • Prohibited Uses of the Internet
  • Privacy
  • Personal Web-Based Email
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Internet Policy

5. Instant Messaging

  • To IM or Not to IM?
  • Usernames
  • Personal Use of IM
  • Privacy and IM Monitoring
  • Viruses and Security Threats
  • Retention and Deletion
  • Putting It All Together: A Sample Instant Messaging Policy

6. Social Media, Blogs, and Beyond: Personal Posting on the Internet

  • Restrictions on Personal Posting
  • Adopting a Commonsense Policy
  • Putting It All Together: A Sample Blog and Personal Post Policy

7. Company-Sponsored Social Media

  • Why Post?
  • Who May Post
  • Guidelines for Posting
  • Authorship and Disclaimers
  • Handling Comments
  • Putting It All Together: A Sample Company-Sponsored Social Media Policy

8. Cell Phones

  • Company-Owned Phones
  • Personal Cell Phones at Work
  • Safety
  • Wage and Hour Concerns
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Cell Phone Policy

9. Portable Computing Devices: Smart Phones, Laptops, Tablets, and Beyond

  • Company-Provided or Personal Devices?
  • Rules for Company-Issued Devices
  • Rules for Personal Devices and BYOD
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Portable Computing Device Policy

10. Cameras and Recording Devices

  • Alternative 1: Banning Cameras and Recording Devices
  • Alternative 2: Use Restrictions
  • Putting It All Together: Sample Camera and Recording Device Policy


A. How to Use the Dowmloadable Forms on the Nolo Website

  • Editing RTFs
  • List of Forms Available on the Nolo Website


Sample Chapter


Introduction: Why You Need Technology Policies

The Risks Posed by Technology............................................... 2

How Technology Policies Can Help........................................... 3

Using This Book......................................................................... 3


In the not-so-distant past, every telephone had a cord tethering the caller to a nearby wall. The only way a business could transmit a document was to place it in an envelope and pay someone to carry it to the recipient. To research important data, we had to find the right books, sometimes by traveling to a library, then take them off the shelf, open them, and hope that the table of contents would point us to the relevant pages.

For anyone under the age of 30, these must seem like some outdated and inefficient limitations for operating a business. These days, smartphones, email, the Internet, cloud computing, and other innovations have brought huge gains in business efficiency and productivity, allowing instant communication and access to information that would have seemed unimaginable only a short time ago.

And of course, the technology wave hasn’t crested yet. Every time we turn around, there’s a new device—or an innovative way to use something we’ve already got—that could revolutionize the way we work. One day, not too long from now, we’ll look back on iPhones, Twitter, and spam with the same nostalgia we reserve for the inkwell, carbon paper, and the IBM Selectric.

The Risks Posed by Technology

No matter how technology evolves, one thing remains constant: New technology brings new risks for employers. Technology can always be misused, either intentionally or accidentally. And, because employers are often legally responsible for the acts of their employees, technological developments have exponentially increased the possibility of legal exposure.

In recent years, we’ve been inundated with tales of employer woes: private customer information accidentally made public; racist or sexist jokes transmitted through a company’s email system; employees causing car accidents while doing business on their phones; employees or officers “outed” as the authors of glowing online reviews of company products; and employees airing workplace gripes on social networking sites. Although technology has promised to increase efficiency and rid us of documentation, it sometimes seems to have had the opposite effect. For example, companies now spend thousands of dollars combing through their electronic files to produce evidence for auditors, courts, and government agencies.

How does an employer modulate this digital din? Some try to control technology with other technology, such as software that blocks certain Internet sites, programs that scan email for illegal content, or ever-changing digital passwords to prevent theft of company data and secrets. But fighting technology with technology is a never-ending game of cat and mouse, as the makers of anti-spam software have learned. There’s always a way to skirt these technological solutions, which means companies have to develop a response to the workaround, and the escalation continues.

How Technology Policies Can Help

Rather than fighting tech with more tech, a better approach is to adopt a set of commonsense rules that explain how employees should use the technologies the company makes available to them. Of course, policies alone won’t stop all employee misconduct: There will always be employees who act badly, no matter what your company’s handbook says. But policies, combined with training, leadership by example, and consistent enforcement, will help your company make sure that employees are using its electronic resources as the company intends.

And, if an employee doesn’t follow the rules, policies provide a strong measure of legal protection if your company has to discipline or fire the employee, or prove that it did everything it could to prevent the incident (in the unfortunate event someone was harmed by an employee’s misuse of technology).

Using This Book

This book provides policies you can adapt for your workplace on email use, employee blogs, posting to company-sponsored social media pages, using cellphones for work, downloading software, Internet access, and much more. It also provides the information you need to decide whether to use a particular policy and how to customize it to fit your workplace.

After Chapter 1 explains what technology policies can do for your company and how to draft them effectively, each subsequent chapter addresses a specific device or function, from software to smartphones to social media. These chapters explain common problems employers face, examine the rapidly changing legal landscape for employee use of technology, and provide sample language you can use to draft or revise your company’s technology policies. 

This book is intended for owners, managers, and human resources specialists at companies of all sizes, from those with only a few employees on up. As you’ll see, even the smallest employers should start considering technology policies once they have a handful of employees who use computers, smartphones, or other tech devices to do their jobs. You can use this book to come up with your company’s first set of tech policies or to troubleshoot an employee handbook that’s been in use for years. Either way, as explained in Chapter 1, you’ll need to run your finished product by a lawyer. State laws on tech and privacy vary, and the laws addressing these twenty-first century issues are in a nearly constant state of evolution. A lawyer can help you make sure your policies are fully up to date and comply with all applicable laws.


This Book Comes With a Website

Nolo’s award-winning website has a page dedicated just to this book, where you can:

DOWNLOAD FORMS - All forms in this book are accessible online. After purchase, you can find a link to the URL in Appendix A.

KEEP UP TO DATE - When there are important changes to the information in this book, we will post updates

And that’s not all. contains thousands of articles on everyday legal and business issues, plus a plain-English law dictionary, all written by Nolo experts and available for free. You’ll also find more useful books, software, online services, and downloadable forms.

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