If not your company could be at risk of a fine
The disclaiming of company email is a vital part of business in today’s culture of compliance and regulation. To give you a better understanding of your company’s legal obligation below are details of your mandatory requirements under UK law.
If your business is a private or public limited company or a Limited Liability Partnership, the UK Companies Act 2006 requires your letterhead, order forms and all business emails to include the following details in legible characters:
- Your company registration number;
- Your place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales); and
- Your registered office address
This information should also appear on your company’s website. Failure to comply with these requirements puts your company at risk of a fine.
These duties were clarified on 1 January 2007, as a result of an amendment that was made to the Companies Act to comply with a European Directive. For avoidance of doubt, these details are not required of sole traders or standard partnerships.
Many companies also choose to include other additional information in their outbound email such as; confidentiality notices, disclaimers and monitoring statements. Below are details outlining the best practice and legal aspects that you should consider when using this additional information in your company emails.
Confidentiality Notices – Optional Information
Some organisations add a confidentiality notice to every outgoing email. If the disclosure of the content of an email becomes the subject of a dispute, it can be argued before a court that the recipient should have known to not disclose the information.
However, there is no legal authority for this and there is always a risk that a court might reject the notice as ineffective, particularly where the notice is added automatically to every outgoing email. Where such notices are used they have a better prospect of standing up in court if they appear above the body of a message.
Disclaimers – Optional Information
Disclaimers are often added to all outgoing emails but they should be written with care. What you attempt to disclaim will depend on the nature of your business and if your disclaimer is too wide it will fall down in court. Seek legal advice to maximise the effectiveness of your disclaimer.
Monitoring – Optional Information
If your organisation monitors some email traffic data, your outgoing emails should say: “[Organisation name] may monitor email traffic data.”
If your organisation also monitors the content of email, you should say: “[Organisation name] may monitor email traffic data and also the content of email for the purposes of [security and staff training].“
The monitoring of business email is primarily governed by the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) Regulations 2000 but it is also affected by other laws including EU rules and, in the UK, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Among other things, these rules require you to give correspondents notice of the monitoring you carry out, including monitoring email traffic data. You should take legal advice on any monitoring of communications that your organisation conducts.
The statements above can help your organisation to reduce the risk of a successful claim for unlawful monitoring of your organisation’s email data but you should be aware that such statements have never been tested in court and therefore any monitoring will carry some degree of risk.
Air-IT – helping you to keep compliant
Air-IT provide a range of e-mail management solutions that will take the worry out of your everyday business communications. This will enable you to comply with these varying and often wide reaching regulations as well as helping to brand, sign and protect all of your organisation’s email.
For further advice and information please contact Air-IT and speak to one of our IT specialists.