[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Burlington 12-26-2000 (Sec. 3:6 of the 1975 General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Burlington Township makes every effort to provide the best available technology to those performing services for it. In this regard, Burlington Township has installed, at substantial expense, equipment such as computers, electronic mail and voice mail.
This chapter is to advise those who use the business equipment of Burlington Township on the subject of access to and disclosure of computer-stored information, voice mail messages and electronic messages created, sent or received by Burlington Township employees with the use of Burlington Township equipment.
This chapter also sets forth policy on the proper use of the computer, voice mail and electronic mail systems provided by Burlington Township.
Burlington Township property, including computers, electronic mail and voice mail, should only be used for conducting Township business.
Personal use of the Burlington Township computers is prohibited, and the Township may, at any time, monitor the use of said equipment. The employee should not expect any privacy with respect to any information he or she places in or on the Burlington Township computers or computer equipment.
The electronic mail system may not be used to solicit for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations, or other non-job-related solicitations. Furthermore, the electronic mail system is not to be used to create any offensive or disruptive messages. Among those messages which are considered offensive are any which contain sexual implications, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any comments that offensively address someone's age, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin, or disability. In addition, the electronic mail system should not be used to sent (upload) or receive (download) copyrighted materials, trade secrets, proprietary financial information, or similar materials, without prior authorization.
Although Burlington Township may provide certain codes to restrict access to computers, voice mail and electronic mail to protect these systems against external parties or entities from obtaining unauthorized access, employees should understand that these systems are intended for business use and all computer information, voice mail and electronic mail messages are to be considered Township records.
Burlington Township also needs to be able to respond to proper requests resulting from legal proceedings that call for electronically stored evidence. Therefore, Burlington Township must and does maintain the right and the ability to enter into any of these systems and to inspect and review any and all data recorded in these systems. Because Burlington Township reserves the right to obtain access to all voice mail and electronic messages left on or transmitted over these systems, employees should not assume that such messages are private and confidential or that Burlington Township or its designated representatives will not have a need to access and review this information. Individuals using the Burlington Township business equipment should also have no expectation that any information stored on their computer, whether the information is contained on a computer hard drive, computer discs, or in any other manner, will be private.
Burlington Township has the right to, but does not regularly, monitor voice mail or electronic mail messages. Burlington Township will, however, inspect the contents of computers, voice mail or electronic mail in the course of an investigation triggered by indications of unacceptable behavior or as necessary to locate needed information that is not more readily available by some other less-intrusive means.
The contents of computers, voice mail and electronic mail, properly obtained for some legitimate business purpose, may be disclosed by Burlington Township if necessary within or outside of Burlington Township.
Given the right to retrieve and right to read any electronic mail messages, such messages should be treated as confidential by other employees and accessed only by the intended recipient.
The Burlington Township Administrator will review any requests for access to the contents of an individual's computer, voice mail or electronic mail prior to access being made without the individual's consent.
Any employee who violates this policy or uses the electronic communication systems for improper purposes may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.