HR-202 Information Technology: Internet Use and Communications
With the rise of new media and next generation communication tools, the way in which TriMet employees can communicate internally and externally continues to evolve. While this creates new opportunities for communication and collaboration, it also creates new responsibilities for TriMet employees. TriMet believes in employees’ right to freedom of expression, online and elsewhere, and TriMet supports open dialogue and the exchange of ideas. At the same time, employees should exercise that freedom in a manner consistent with TriMet’s philosophy of transparency, integrity, and mutual respect. TriMet employees are personally responsible for the content they publish on the Internet, both internally and externally. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time and can be used by others, so protect your privacy.
The principles outlined in this policy provide standards for Internet use, communications, and postings that utilize TriMet equipment or access to the Internet, and apply to all TriMet employees whether they are on or off duty. This policy is administered by and subject to the oversight of the Human Resources/Legal Department. Violations of this Policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment
Internet use in the workplace
Access to the Internet is provided primarily as a research and communication tool for conducting TriMet business. Incidental use is permitted only when no additional cost is incurred to the district and when it does not interfere with job performance and productivity. It may not be used to avoid the personal expense of subscribing to an Internet service.
It is essential to realize the responsibilities that come with access to the Internet. All use must be efficient, ethical, legal, and appropriate to the workplace. In addition to the requirements outlined in the Basic Policy and to protect the system from contamination and overload, users may not:
- transit material that violates federal, state or local laws or agency policies.
- subvert TriMet’s web filtering mechanisms to gain, or allow others to gain, access to Internet sites or material that has been restricted or prohibited.
- send files or portions of files likely to damage databases, files or networks — either the recipient’s or TriMet’s.
- send chain letters or broadcast messages.
- violate copyright laws or software licensing agreements.
- use the network in any way that would cause congestion or interfere with operations.
- download executable or binary files without previous authorization from an authorized Information Technology Engineer.
- participate in non-work related chat rooms, news groups, user groups, or listservs.
- use the agency Internet access for personal gain or avoidance of personal expense.
- access or download resources for which there is a fee without previous approval by a supervisor.
- use dynamic Internet communication applications, such as Instant Messenger.
- utilize Internet or remote storage sites to store TriMet files or information.
Internet Communications & Postings
TriMet employees are personally responsible for the content they publish on the Internet, both internally and externally. Internet communications and postings may not violate TriMet policy or procedure. TriMet policies regarding Employee Conduct (HR 166) and Respectful Workplace (HR 171) also apply when you make Internet Postings regarding TriMet coworkers or customers.
The following activities are referred to as “Internet Postings” in this Policy, and include posted information from any source:
- Multi-media and social networking websites including but not limited to My Space, Face book, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr and discussion forums such as Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups.
- Blogs (including official TriMet blogs, blogs external to TriMet but authored by TriMet employees, and blogs external to TriMet authored by individuals or organizations not employed by TriMet).
- Websites that feature news or editorial coverage of TriMet and allow for comments and postings from readers.
- Wikis such as Wikipedia and any other site where text, video or other content can be posted.
- Any other form of social media or social networking website that may exist or has yet to be developed.
Protocol for Internet Communications & Postings requires that:
- If you comment on any aspect of TriMet’s business or any policy issue in which the District is involved, in your postings and/or blog site(s), you must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of TriMet.
- If you author any blogs that discuss TriMet the following disclaimer should be placed in a reasonably prominent place: “The views expressed on this website are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of TriMet.”
- If you are writing about TriMet business where you have responsibility and are not sure whether your comments are appropriate, check with HR or Manager Operations Communications before posting.
- Your Internet Postings may not disclose any information that is confidential, safety-or-security sensitive, or proprietary to TriMet or to any third party that has disclosed information to TriMet.
- You must obtain the express permission of any TriMet employee or customer before making audio or visual recordings of them or using such recording in an Internet Posting.
TriMet has software in place to screen all Internet traffic that passes through TriMet’s administrative network to prevent inadvertent access to inappropriate websites or material. However, no screening software can guarantee that inadvertent access to inappropriate websites or material will not occur. All users are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their use of TriMet’s internet access complies with TriMet, this policy and all Information Technology policies. If in doubt, users should not access questionable or unknown websites or materials, or websites that are reasonably likely to contain inappropriate material. Any user who receives inappropriate material over the Internet must immediately contact his or her supervisor.
INTERNET CONTENT & PRIVACY
TriMet has no control over and cannot be responsible for the content of information on the Internet. Some of it is erroneous, biased or objectionable. You are legally responsible for the content of your Internet Communications and Postings, and in addition to violations of TriMet policy, you may be subject to personal liability if your posts are in violation of any applicable law. TriMet is not liable, under any circumstances, for any errors, omissions, loss or damages claimed or incurred due to any of your Internet Postings.
As with all TriMet equipment, facilities and services, use of the Internet by TriMet employees is not personal or private. TriMet may, from time to time, monitor use of computers and the Internet without advance warning.
Understand also that all account numbers and other information sent via the Internet or e-mail is not private and may be monitored, recorded or disclosed.
CONSEQUENCES OF MISUSE
Individuals who violate TriMet’s Internet Use and Communications Policy may be subject to discipline if Internet use is not in compliance with the requirements and protocols outlined in this policy, or if Internet communications or postings, whether internal or external, violate TriMet’s Employee Conduct or Respectful Workplace Policies.
The level of discipline for violations of TriMet policy will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The nature and severity of the violation will determine the level and progressiveness of the discipline, including the possibility of termination for a single incident.