Personal use of electronic equipment


YMCA staff members utilize various electronic hardware and software to perform their jobs. Telephones, pagers, cell phones, fax machines, computers, voicemail, and email allow both direct and delayed communication. Internet accessibility enables extraordinary communication and information availability. Staff may errantly presume that personal use of such equipment is private and confidential. However, as the owner of the equipment, the YMCA is responsible for its use, and thus has the right to monitor both current use and stored content. Personal use of YMCA equipment is normally acceptable within reason, but there is a cost both to the YMCA (i.e., lost productive time) and to the individual (i.e., lost privacy).

Every YMCA should have a clearly articulated policy on the use of YMCA-supplied equipment and what staff may expect in terms of privacy and monitoring. The policy should address at least the following:

  • All YMCA provided equipment and software is provided primarily for business purposes. Appropriate and reasonable personal use is generally permitted.

  • Appropriate and reasonable use of YMCA equipment is determined solely by the YMCA and refers both to type and extent of use. Specifically excluded types of use might include:

    • sending or copying copyrighted materials
    • sending chain letters or similar items
    • personal web-surfing during work hours
    • sending or forwarding offensive materials
    • personal (i.e., non-YMCA) business activities
    • gambling, pools, or other activities of chance
    • any use of “adult” web sites or 900-access numbers
    • any illegal or unlawful activity
  • Only legally obtained and properly registered software may reside on any YMCA computer or similar device. Prior approval for personal programs should be obtained before installation.

  • The YMCA reserves the right to monitor any use of its equipment. The monitoring may be random or for apparent cause, announced or unannounced, of active communications or stored messages, of programs or data files. Anything passing through or resident in the equipment may be reviewed.

  • The staff member is responsible for any costs and/or fees generated by or arising from personal use of YMCA equipment assigned to them. This includes, but is not restricted to: long distance toll charges; roaming, connection, or access charges; personal or unauthorized purchases; loss, theft, or damage of equipment taken off-premises for personal use.

  • The policy applies equally to all staff without exception. It should be communicated both at the time of hire and regularly (e.g., annually, or whenever changes are made) thereafter.

  • Misuse or abuse of personal use privileges may result in limitation (i.e., through function blocking, etc.) or loss of use of the equipment, job suspension, or even termination of employment.

Protect your equipment and its use: establish a policy, communicate it, and consistently enforce it.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.


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