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Purpose and Elements of a Code of Conduct

Applied IT (Year 12) - Impacts of Technology (U4)

Christian Bien

What is the Purpose of a Code of Conduct?

A code of a conduct is a written document that establishes the expected behaviour and standards of employees and acts as grounds for disciplinary action and in extreme cases, termination where codes have been breached.Think of the code of conduct as an agreement on the rules of how an employee should act in the workplace. If there is misconduct, such as bullying of other staff, the code of conduct acts as grounds for displinary action such as suspension or termination without pay. 

Elements of the Code of Conduct

Work Hours

Under the Code of Conduct, work hours can accept a degree of flexibility with ICT systems. ICT can enable workers to work offsite business premises with remote access to work files and programs.

However, as technology is making the potential for employees to work 24/7, a Victorian Police court case has won the right for employees to 'disconnect' from work, meaning they are unable to be contacted outside of work with the exception of emergencies.

Read more: Right to Disconnect, ABC News, 6 April 2021

Employee Email Use

Under the Code of Conduct, email sent using an official company email address is regarded as official company policy. Employees should be careful when sending emails as it gives the receiver written evidence which could be use to legally enforce contracts or conditions.​

Employees are also refrained from sending inappropriate emails, including but not limited to offensive emails or defamatory emails about another person.​

Personal emails are allowed to be sent using the business email address as long as it does not have a significant impact on the productivity of the employee.​

Employees have the right to monitor all communications on business email addresses.​

Employee Internet Use

Employees can only use business internet resources for business purposes. Employees must not visit websites that could diminish their level of productivity, websites such as social media, pornography, gambling or online games.​Employees must also not visit illegal websites. Employers have the right to monitor all traffic on business internet resources.​

Employee Privacy

Employees are allowed a degree of privacy with the right to be trusted when using business equipment and resources. Employees are allowed privacy of confidential and personal information.While employers have the right to monitor traffic and activities on ICT systems, they must also respect the privacy of confidential and personal information.​

Employer's Right to Monitor Work Emails, Internet Access and Personal Use

Employers own the business and ICT business resources, including the right to monitor work emails, internet access and personal use. While they have the right to monitor these systems, they should respect the privacy of personal and confidential information. (For example, an employer should avoid opening personal emails and only checking work related emails).

Employers have the right to monitor ICT systems as they have the right to:

  • Protect the business from legal threats

  • Ensure the business reflects a positive reputation

  • Ensure workers remain productive

  • Protect ICT systems from malware​

Employers, however, must consider employee's rights to:

  • Be trusted

  • Take regular breaks

  • Confidentiality of own data​

There is always a legal and moral conflict between the right for employer's to monitor and employee privacy.

Examples of Code of Conducts Between Organisations and Employees

The following below shows links to example Code of Conducts. Note: Web links take users outside this website.​

NSW Education Code of Conduct​

BHP Billiton - Code of Business Conduct​

RAC parks & Resorts WA - Code of Conduct

Business - Writing a Code of Conduct

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