Code of conduct call for personal e-mail use

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The Independent Online

The TUC urged today that companies should allow staff "reasonable" use of personal emails as long as it does not interfere with their work.

The TUC urged today that companies should allow staff "reasonable" use of personal emails as long as it does not interfere with their work.

It called on employers to draw up sensible guidelines to cover the use of emails and access to the internet in offices.

A code of practice should be agreed between employers and unions to encourage responsible behaviour as well as safeguarding workers' privacy, it was suggested.

The TUC said workers should be warned that emails could be scanned for obscene, indecent or racist remarks.

Staff should also be told that their emails could be checked if they were absent or went on holiday without leaving contact numbers.

The TUC and the Industrial Society today published a list of "do's and don'ts", which included "occasional and reasonable" personal use of emails.

TUC general secretary John Monks said recent regulations had left many workers worried that managers might be "snooping" on their personal emails - while employers fear that if they open any email containing private information they could be breaching the Human Rights Act.

He said instead of reacting by banning the personal use of email at work, it made more sense for employers to consult with their workforce and draw up guidance which protects and reassures everyone.

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