Computer & Internet Usage
It is the policy of Mid-Ohio Psychological Services, Inc. to provide employees access to technology, computer equipment, and Internet to help employees, interns and volunteers to complete their jobs faster and smarter. Technology and the Internet and its vast resources, for this agency, are a business tool. MOPS is committed to excellence and has a responsibility to serve the public interests by maintaining employees, interns, and volunteers who are responsible members of the mental health profession and of the broader community, dedicated to high ethical standards and professionalism, and our use of the Internet must reflect this.
MOPS retains the right to review staff utilization of the Internet, Email services, or any other computer data generated or viewed utilizing equipment or services provided by MOPS. Inappropriate use of these resources may be grounds for termination at the discretion of the Agency Director or Board.
Agency policies apply to employees, interns, and volunteers use of internet, social media, electronic mail, etc. including but not limited to those policies governing employees conduct, inspection and monitoring of agency property, internet usage, electronic mail, confidentiality, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, workplace violence, discipline and termination. Agency employees, interns, and volunteers are further reminded that they may not, reveal or improperly use confidential material; or discriminate, harass, or retaliate against other persons involved in the conduct of agency business. Employees, interns, and volunteers are strongly discouraged from making disparaging remarks or derogatory comments about competitors, consultants, or agents of the agency. Failure to comply with this policy and procedure may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Access to the Internet at MOPS is primarily for business-related purposes, unauthorized or unnecessary Internet usage is prohibitive. The MIS Coordinator will be responsible for monitoring Internet usage and will report any evidence of inappropriate utilization of the Internet to the Executive Director immediately. Employees may use the Internet facilities for non-business research or browsing during mealtime or other breaks or outside of work hours, provided that all other usage policies are adhered to.
MOPS retains the right to inspect any and all files stored in private areas of our network in order to ensure compliance with policy. The MIS coordinator will be responsible for monitoring the areas episodically.
Users ID’s and passwords help maintain individual accountability for Internet resource usage. Any employee who obtains a password ID for an Internet resource must keep that password confidential. Agency policy prohibits the sharing of user ID’s or passwords obtained for access to the Internet sites.
The display of any kind of sexually explicit image or document on any agency system is a violation of our policy on sexual harassment. In addition, sexually explicit material may not be archived, stored, distributed, edited, or recorded using our network or computing resources.
Use of Internet services for the downloading or viewing of inappropriate materials is expressly prohibited.Â At minimum, inappropriate materials include the following:
Anarchy sites containing information regarding malicious, construction of bombs, weapons, anti-government groups, terrorists, overthrowing of government, killing methods, et cetera. Criminal skills sites that promote illegal activity such as pyrotechnics, computer hacking, credit card number generating, electronic intrusion, password cracking, surveillance or murder.Illicit drugs sites that promote the use or purchase of illegal drugs. These may include offering marijuana seeds for sale, growing methods, techniques, and products for testing clean for drugs, information on illegal narcotics;Gambling sites which encourage gambling such as betting sites, book odds, lottery, bingo, horse/dog track, on-line sports betting, on-line casinos, et cetera. Obscene/tasteless sites that involve such things as mutilation, murder, bodily functions, horror, death, candid scenes, executions, violence, et cetera. Erotica sites that include nudity of any form, vulgarity, including sites that contain nudity or sexually explicit verbiage for the purpose of sexual arousal.If any of the inappropriate material identified above is accidentally happened upon by an employee by utilizing the Internet for otherwise appropriate purposes or if any of the above inappropriate material is accessed for legitimate therapeutic purposes as approved by a supervising clinician, then a log of such access must be maintained and forwarded to the MIS coordinator who will report such activity to the Executive Director.
Employees must respect the copyright, software licensing rules, property rights, privacy, and prerogatives of others.Â No employees may use agency facilities knowingly to download or distribute pirated software or data or use the agencys Internet facilities to deliberately propagate any virus, worm, Trojan horse, or trap-door program code.Â The agencys Internet facilities and computing resources must not be used knowingly to violate the laws and regulations of the United States or any other nation, or the laws and regulations of any state, city, province, or local jurisdiction in any material way. Use of any agency resources for illegal activity is grounds for immediate termination and MOPS will cooperate with any legitimate law enforcement activity. The agency will comply with reasonable requests from law enforcement and regulatory agencies for logs, diaries, and archives on individuals Internet activities.
Employees with Internet access may download only software with direct business use and must arrange to have such software properly licensed and registered. Downloaded software must be used only under the terms of its license. Any software files downloaded via the Internet into the agency network become the property of the agency. Any such files or software may be used only in ways that are consistent with their licenses or copyrights. Employees with Internet access may not upload any software licensed to the agency or data owned or licensed by the agency without explicit authorization from the manager responsible for software data.
Employees should schedule communication, intensive operations such as large-file transfers, video downloads, mass emailing and the like for off-peak times and must coordinate such activities with the MIS Coordinator. Video and audio streaming and downloading technology represent a significant data traffic that can cause local network congestion. Video and audio downloading may only be scheduled for off-peak times as coordinated with the MIS Coordinator.
No employee may use the agency’s Internet facilities knowingly to disable or overload any computer system or network or to circumvent any system intended to protect the privacy or security of another user.
Computers that use their own modems to create independent data connection sidestep our network security mechanisms. An individual computers private connection to an outside computer can be used by an attacker to compromise any agency network to which that computer is attached. Utilization of an independent connection to the Internet must be approved by the MIS Coordinator prior to its utilization.
Employees are reminded that chats and news groups are public forums where it is inappropriate to reveal confidential agency information, client information, or any other material covered by existing agency secrecy policies and procedures. Employees releasing protected information, whether or not the release is inadvertent, will be subject to all penalties under the existing data security policy and procedures. The agency retains the copyright to any material posted to any forum, news group, chat or Worldwide Web page by any employee in the course of his/her duties.
Use of agency Internet access facilities to commit infractions such as misuse of agency assets or resources, sexual harassment, unauthorized public speaking and misappropriation or theft of intellectual property are also prohibited by general agency policy, and will be sanctioned under relevant provisions of the personnel procedures.
The agency maintains as part of its technology platform an electronic mail system, commonly known as email. The system is provided to assist in the conduct of business within the agency and to facilitate business communications. Accordingly, email may be used only for legitimate business reasons, including elevating staff morale, and not for personal purposes.
To aid in facilitating confidentiality of client information, client specific materials are to be communicated utilizing the internal Email system only. External Email accounts must be maintained by separate Email software unless explicitly approved by the Executive Director and MIS Coordinator. No client information may be transmitted via the Internet unless encoded with a minimum of 128-bit encryption. The MIS Coordinator should be consulted regarding the transfer of any client information via the Internet.
All computers and the data stored on them, as well as the agency’s email system, are and remain at all times the property of the agency. As such, all electronic-mail messages composed, sent, and received are and always remain the property of the agency. Therefore, the agency reserves the right at any time to retrieve and read any message composed, sent or received; accordingly privacy of messages cannot be guaranteed to anyone, and an employee should have no expectation whatsoever with respect to privacy of the messages.
While electronic mail may accommodate the use of passwords for security in certain circumstances, the reliability of such for maintaining confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Employees must assume that any and all messages may be read by someone other than the intended or designated recipient.
Social Media and Networking
This is intended to address issues related to employees participating in social media, including blogs, wikis, social networks, file-sharing, user generated video and audio, and any other kind of online publishing or discussion.
Employees, interns, and volunteers are reminded that their conduct both on and off the job must meet a high standard. This includes, but is not limited to, conduct related to materials posted on social media and networking sites, or other material that is disseminated or posted electronically. The agency does not seek to unduly interfere with the employees, interns, or volunteers personal non-working activities, but certain limits and reminders are required to protect employees, interns, and volunteers, and the agency. Employees may maintain personal websites or web logs on their own time using their own facilities. Employees must ensure that social media activity does not interfere with their work. In general, the agency considers social media activities to be personal endeavors, and employees may use them to express their thoughts or promote their ideas as long as they do not have a propensity to negatively affect the agency.
Employees are not to a friend clients of the agency on any social media site.
If an employee identifies himself or herself as an agency employee or discusses matters related to the agency on a social media site, the site must include a disclaimer on the front page stating that it does not express the views of the agency and that the employee is expressing only his or her personal views. For example:The views expressed on this website/Web log are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. Place the disclaimer in a prominent position and repeat it for each posting expressing an opinion related to the agency or the agency’s business. Employees must keep in mind that if they post information on a social media site that is in violation of agency policy and/or federal, state, or local law, the disclaimer will not shield them from disciplinary action.
Employees, interns, and volunteers must have written consent from the Executive Director to participate in any social media on behalf of the agency. Employees, interns, and volunteers are required to identify by name and URL any social media they participate in for business purposes.
When participating in social media for business purposes, employees must identify themselves and the agency by name. Employees, interns, and volunteers are personally responsible for the content they publish on any form of social media. Any participation in social media must be meaningful and respectful. Employees, interns, and volunteers are prohibited from using slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engaging in any other communications or behavior that would not be acceptable in the agency workplace. All posts should be on-topic, timely, appropriate, professional, and polite. Employees are reminded to carefully consider and review all content before posting. Employees should quickly correct any mistakes.
Employees, interns, and volunteers may not reference clients in any way or reference any private information regarding an employee.
Postings online are public information and there is no right to privacy in what is posted, anything posted in public manner can be used as grounds for discipline, whether the employees, intern, or volunteer wrote it from agency equipment or outside of the agency.
Employees, interns, or volunteers shall not allow, permit, or post any digital media or material to the internet that at any time that:
Could be interpreted to express the opinions of the agency, except for business purposes approved in writing by the Executive Director as outlined above.Contains content that is unprofessional, unbecoming, illegal, or that does not affirmatively promote positive public image e.g. excessive alcohol consumption, lewd behavior, or other similar behaviors. Courts and other entities may view social sites to scrutinize the credibility of employees.Could be reasonably interpreted as having an adverse effect upon agency morale, discipline, and operations of a department, safety of employees and clients, or perception of the public about the agency.Contains any recordings, or images, obtained while engaged in the performance of duties or any other activity that will have adverse effect upon the agency.Contains photographs of agency employees, interns, or volunteers, in a state of nudity, semi-nudity, or in suggestive clothing.
Employees, interns, or volunteers may inquire to the Executive Director for written permission to post materials for which they require clarification regarding the restrictions listed. Such postings will not occur until permission is granted.
Employees, interns, or volunteers may appear in agency identifying clothing on social media and networking sites, provided that the photograph meets the requirements set forth in this policy and display a professional appearance.
This policy does not apply to postings that serve a legitimate agency purpose.
Use of chat programs or instant messenger programs is generally prohibited except for explicit business purposes. Utilization of such services must be approved by the MIS coordinator and the Executive Director prior to utilization.
Revised 11/7/2012 Note: This policy/procedure replaces the Internet Usage policy that was in place before this date.