PEOs Reduce Employment Practices Liability With Effective Internet Use Tactics
Source: SOI Blog
Recently, various organizations and individuals encountered malicious Internet virus woes from, in effect, the FBI, after the organization ceased operating safe DNS servers in response to an international cyber crime. Internet viruses are difficult and costly to combat. Employers can take effective steps to mitigate virus problems by implementing policies and protocols relative to Internet usage at work. PEOs assist organizations in reducing employment practices liability with effective Internet guidelines.
“The Electronic Communications Privacy Act entitles employers to control employees’ Internet use on computer systems owned and operated by the organization,” notes Raymond A. Parker, SPHR, Senior Vice President – Human Resource Consulting with SOI, a nationwide professional employer organization (PEO). “Our courts generally hold that employers have a legitimate business interest in maintaining computer security and preventing inappropriate use of computer systems, which includes Internet use. However, the right to control Internet use should be backed up by a properly communicated policy that clearly sets out rules for use.”
Internet usage is an essential business tool for most companies to function effectively today. And some non-business use of the Internet is often considered acceptable to companies, similar to other non-business activities such as personal phone calls. However, employee abuse of the Internet may be harmful to the company, raising security issues, reducing productivity and even exposing employers to employee initiated lawsuits involving sexual harassment when, for example, co-workers use the Internet to access pornography.
At a minimum, Internet usage policies should state the following:
- Appropriate and inappropriate usage of the Internet in the workplace
- Systems, including information accessed on company computers, is the property of the company
- To what extent personal use of the Internet is permitted by the company
- How Internet usage will be monitored by the company
- Whether or not certain websites are blocked by the company
- Possible consequences of violation of company Internet usage rules
The Internet usage policy should be written and included within the company employee policy manual, and all Internet usage rules should be discussed with employees during orientation and at other appropriate intervals, especially when revisions to the policy are made.
PEOs understand the value of an Internet policy and reasonable approach to Internet usage within companies. Working with client companies, PEOs help company management create a policy that is fair and reasonable, enforced firmly and consistently, and one that is well communicated and publicized.
SOI can offer your business employment practices liability insurance and reduce the risk of employee claims, contact us today for a free comparison quote.
SOI is a leading professional employer organization (PEO) for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) serving as a trusted partner in integrated human resource (HR) compliance, risk management, employee benefits, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), and payroll processing. SOI is based in Charlotte, NC and supports tens of thousands of worksite employees throughout the U.S. More details are available online on our employment practices liability insurance.