This policy establishes standards for the proper use of the email system the "Email System" of  the "Company". It also describes authorized and unauthorized uses of the Email System and designates sanctions for policy violations.


This policy covers the appropriate use of the Email System by all users, including employees, vendors, and agents operating on behalf of the Company, and at all locations, including Company property, client property, employee residences, and mobile devices.


Company computers, the Email System, and Company email accounts are the property of the Company and all emails created or transmitted via the Email System are the property of the Company.


The Company may review all emails stored, sent, or received through the Email System. Employees should have no expectation of privacy in anything they store, send, or receive through the Email System.


All emails sent or received through the Email System are considered written business records that may be retained by the Company, at its discretion and in accordance with the Company's record retention policy.


  • (a) Business Use. Subject to subsection (b), employees shall use the Email System primarily for business purposes.
  • (b) Personal Use. The Company recognizes that an employee may at times need to use the Email System for personal reasons. The Company allows this use as long as it is minimal, does not interrupt or impede the employee's work obligations, and complies with the terms of this policy. Personal use of email should be made before or after work hours, or during break time. An employee has no personal right of privacy in any information contained in or transmitted by the Company's computers or the Email System.
  • (c) Prohibited Uses. An employee may not use the Email System to create, distribute, or retain anything that:
    • (i) is disruptive, offensive, discriminatory, intimidating, or harassing, including sexually explicit messages, comments, images, jokes about race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, national origin,or other protected class, religious beliefs and practice, political beliefs, or any content that is indecent, pornographic, obscene, illegal, defames or slanders others, or could be construed as harassment;
    • (ii) relates to commercial or advertising purposes, conducting non-Company business, searching externally for jobs, or soliciting money for personal gain;
    • (iii) accesses copyrighted or trademarked information in a way that violates the copyright or trademark, or sends any trademarked, copyrighted, intellectual property, or legally protected material that the employee does not have permission to distribute;
    • (iv) relates to jokes, hoaxes, chain letters, spam, phishing scams, or viruses; or
    • (v) violates any federal, state, or local laws.
  • Employees who receive emails containing prohibited content from any Company employee should report the matter to their supervisor or the designated human resources representative immediately.


  • (a) Writing. All email communications sent out on Company email should be professional and appropriate, contain proper grammar and punctuation, and include no unnecessary attachments. An employee should be safe and take responsibility for the content of his or her messages, and should not compose emails in violation of this policy. Each employee should assume that anyone can see what he or she has written in an email. 
    • (i) Signature. An employee must append his or her signature to each email, including his or her name and job title, and the name of the Company.
    • (i) (ii) Disclaimer. An employee must add the following Company disclaimer at the end of all emails: "."
  • (b) Receiving. Each employee should take special care when opening messages if the sender is unknown or the email subject is suspicious. Messages with virus or other malware warnings should not be opened.
  • (c) Replying. Emails that require a reply should be answered as promptly as possible. Replies should be prioritized by order of importance.
  • (d) Forwarding. Forwarded emails should state clearly the reason why they were forwarded and describe any necessary action that should be taken by the recipient.
  • (e) Maintenance. To protect confidentiality, an employee should change his or her email password frequently and should never disclose those passwords. An email account that has not been used for a period of  days or longer will be deactivated and may be deleted in management's discretion.
  • (f) Confidential Information. Each employee should limit his or her sending of confidential information via Company email, and should take extra precautions if it is necessary to send that information. Confidential information includes individuals' social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, client lists and trade secrets, personal information (including information contained within employee records like addresses, phone numbers, salary information, and performance reviews), information about where and when an employee works, office procedures, and routines, photos, or anything else that could compromise the safety or reputation of the user or a fellow employee or Company client), or any restricted or otherwise private Company information that could be detrimental to the Company's reputation or business interests if disclosed to the public.


An employee who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.


This policy may be amended in writing by the Company in its discretion, and amended versions of the policy will be distributed to all users.


Employees who have questions about or do not understand these rules should consult with the Company about the scope and application of the policy. 

  • (a) All questions should be directed to , at .


I have read and understood the above policy and agree to abide by its terms. I authorize the Company to access any communication I make using Company-provided equipment or resources.

Employee Name
Employee Signature

California Email Use Policy - Free Template

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California email use policy: How-to guide

Every business that uses email services should have a written email usage policy. 

Even the most conscientious employees find it hard to resist the temptation to surf the web or compose personal emails, and these practices can waste significant company money and time. Moreover, a pattern of careless email communication use can have significant risks for a business, both in the short term and further down the road.

A well-crafted email usage policy will set expectations for incoming employees and protect your company from allegations ranging from copyright infringement to a hostile work environment. The policy will also guard against more immediate dangers, like an unintended download of a computer virus through phishing emails or tools that could interfere with system security.

A California email use policy template will help an employer in California set guidelines for the appropriate use of email systems. It also provides the framework for a complete set of information management policies. Your business will be able to draw on its technological resources without sacrificing security or efficiency.

Important tips to create your email use policy

Creating an employee email usage policy is the first of many steps in establishing a healthy, professional, and dispute-free workplace. The following tips will provide additional guidance about protecting your company and its electronic communications:

Include discrimination and harassment policies

Ensure your company’s discrimination and sexual harassment policies are included in your email policy. Employees tend to be more casual with their remarks in an electronic setting, and it’s important to emphasize that inappropriate comments will not be tolerated in any work-related forum.

Responsibilities of employees

Instruct all company employees about the importance of email information, its security, and its protection. Wrongful disclosure can happen at any level of your organization. If sensitive information needs to be exchanged, consider a phone call or a face-to-face meeting rather than a written document.

Set reasonable expectations while creating an email use policy

Your policies should be reasonable. Modern employees work long hours, leaving their houses before dawn and returning well into the night. To boost workplace morale and help staff retention, some allowance for electronic communication between employees and their family members should be provided.

Need for signing a written policy

Every person employed by your company should review and sign your policy. This includes new, old, temporary, and permanent employees, managers, supervisors, full-time professionals, part-time staff, independent contractors, and freelancers.

This helps create awareness among individuals and helps them understand your company's email usage policy terms.

Employer and employee responsibility while using an email system

Be it an employer or employee, users of an email system have certain responsibilities while using and accessing their emails in the workplace.

Access, review, and monitoring of email communications 

This means that employees should not expect emails sent through the company's email accounts or computer system to be private. In other words, all electronic communications sent using company property, whether for business or personal use, can be retrieved and reviewed by the company.

Email etiquette

It reiterates the general rule that employers and employees should use caution in drafting and forwarding emails. Email communication should always be professional. A user should constantly monitor their language and tone while communicating with other employees, superiors, former business partners, or other parties. 

Any kind of communication that is intended to harm anyone may be subject to disciplinary action. If employees act irresponsibly while using emails, they can even lose their employment without further notice. The employer reserves the right to terminate employees if they don’t follow the basic compliance requirements.

Subscriptions to mailing lists and discussion groups

It means that any email subscriptions or discussion groups to which an employee belongs must be related to their job or department. 

Permitted and prohibited uses

In a workplace setup, the employee has the required permission to use an official email account for business purposes. An employer also reserves the right to prohibit employees from using email systems for personal use. For example, if an employee uses the company’s email service provider to send chain letters or spam messages, the employer can take action on behalf of the company.

Another example is if an employee uses the company’s email service provider to send personal emails or uses it to store personal photos and other data, the employer can prohibit such practices on behalf of the company.

Computer system security

Although email usage policies aim to prevent employees from sending or reviewing prohibited materials, companies should also be concerned about less direct threats to their technology systems. More specifically, they warn employees that their actions can endanger the company's general security, calling particular attention to the dangers posed by computer viruses, unauthorized log-ins, and individual software downloads. 

Confidentiality of communications

The employees must protect the company’s intellectual property and confidential information. Indeed, particular attention may be required online, where the rules of email use may seem to be more relaxed.

A company that has an email use policy can clarify an employee’s obligations with electronic communication. This knowledge can limit careless disclosures and protect your business. The more employees understand and are aware of their roles and responsibilities, the less the company will be at risk. A good policy on email usage will also protect you from internal dangers.

Frequently asked questions

What’s a California email use policy

Emails might be simple to send, but they’re just as easy to screw up. Creating your company’s email policy using an email use policy document ensures that employees know how their company wants them to use or not use their email systems.

To complete your California email use policy, you’ll need the following information:

  • What should be included in your email signature: Know whether employees need to include their name, title, and the company’s name in every email they send out.
  • When should an email be deactivated: Decide when to deactivate a former employee’s email address.
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