Misuse of Email Facilities: Professional Issues

Topics: E-mail, E-mail address, Data Protection Act 1998 Pages: 7 (1978 words) Published: May 4, 2007

The intention of this report is to document and concisely illustrate the issues surrounding the misuse of email facilities provided by MoneyWise Ltd. It will examine the direct threats that any abuse of the email facilities will have on the company. Explain fully the reasons why MoneyWise Ltd requires email usage guidelines. Present a policy outlining acceptable email usage for the company and discuss any legal implications surrounding this policy.



This section of the report will investigate the threats that unrestricted email use would have on organisations. An article according to Rothman and Taffae (2003, p.56) states, by some estimates close to 7.2 billion emails are sent everyday. With this instant approval of the usage of emails as a method of mass communication, it has evoked a substantial risk of legal responsibility for companies.

Email has the ability to inadvertently cause damage or embarrassment with the click of a ‘send' button advise Rothman and Taffae (2003, p.56). The informal impression for employers and employees of sending an email is misleadingly perilous, and it is considered things are conversed in emails, which would under no circumstances be said in writing. The key threat with emails is that, they leave a written record even after they have been deleted. This written material or confidential corporate information could potentially lead to embarrassment, defamation or legal implications and an undesirable effect on a company's reputation, if an inappropriate email was leaked, external to the organisation.

Another risk of uncontrolled email usage is the huge amount, of an organisations time and money, employers and employees waste on sending pointless emails. This state of affairs could consequently result in lower productivity and performance of a business. According to Best (2003) statistics from business-writing consultants Emphasis state, companies are now spending an average of £10,000 per person per year paying employees to read and write unnecessary emails and, that people often have to wade through 30 or 40 emails before they can begin their ‘real work'.

One of the most dangerous threats to a business of email misuse is the distribution of offensive material. The circulation of offensive content, which once could have been considered light office banter, places companies open to damaged reputations and litigation, with the company and its directors personally liable.

As commented above offensive email messages sent can be incredibly problematic, but so can that of material sent to other employees within the company. Unmonitored use of the email system to circulate such emails could potentially result in employees and employers contributing to the creation, of a hostile work environment and endangering relationships with work colleagues and stakeholders. These circumstances, could influence a businesses performance, leading to a poorly motivated workforce, create disputes and affect HR retention.

A statement by Kahn (2006 cited Hildreth 2006, p.26) explains that "E-mail has taken over as the dominant way employees and organisations exchange information. In the past, e-mail was how information about a meeting was distributed. But today, e-mail is the way all employees transact real business". Combined with all this important data, is a constant danger of email-borne threats such as viruses, Trojans and other malicious software. The consequences of these threats to a company would be costly for various reasons; possess an influence on productivity (operate as a diversion from employees work responsibilities), carry a risk of corruption or theft, of company emails, containing crucial corporate information and could place a business in danger of legal action or fines, for not acting in accordance with government and industry regulations.


According to Wang (1997) you would have thought that the "heaviest...
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