5.17 Internet Usage

Internet access to global electronic information resources on the World Wide Web is provided by Pratts to assist employees in obtaining work-related data and technology. The following guidelines have been established to help ensure responsible and productive Internet usage. All Internet usage is limited to job-related activities. Personal use of the Internet is not permitted.

All Internet data that is composed, transmitted, or received via our computer communications systems is considered to be part of the official records of Pratts and, as such, is subject to disclosure to law enforcement or other third parties. Consequently, employees should always ensure that the business information contained in Internet e-mail messages and other transmissions is accurate, appropriate, ethical, and lawful.

The equipment, services, and technology provided to access the Internet remain at all times the property of Pratts. As such, Pratts reserves the right to monitor Internet traffic, and retrieve and read any data composed, sent, or received through our online connections and stored in our computer systems.

Data that is composed, transmitted, accessed, or received via the Internet must not contain content that could be considered discriminatory, offensive, obscene, threatening, harassing, intimidating, or disruptive to any employee or other person. Examples of unacceptable content may include, but are not limited to, sexual comments or images, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comments or images that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of race, age, sex, religious or political beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The unauthorized use, installation, copying, or distribution of copyrighted, trademarked, or patented material on the Internet is expressly prohibited. As a general rule, if an employee did not create material, does not own the rights to it, or has not gotten authorization for its use, it should not be put on the Internet. Employees are also responsible for ensuring that the person sending any material over the Internet has the appropriate distribution rights.

To ensure a virus-free environment, no files may be downloaded from the Internet without prior authorization.

Abuse of the Internet access provided by Pratts in violation of law or Pratts policies will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees may also be held personally liable for any violations of this policy. The following behaviors are examples of previously stated or additional actions and activities that are prohibited and can result in disciplinary action:

* Using the organization's time and resources for personal gain
* Engaging in unauthorized transactions that may incur a cost to the organization or initiate
unwanted Internet services and transmissions

* Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials
* Sending or posting messages that defame or slander other individuals


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