Practical email disclaimer advice

OK, so it’s not the most interesting subject for an article, but if you live in the EU or North America it’s likely that you are legally required to have a disclaimer within your email signature.

What is an email disclaimer?

Right, before we go on let’s just explain in layman’s terms exactly what an email disclaimer is and why you need it. An email disclaimer is that bit of text at the end of your email signature which is basically there to limit liability, as well as met local legal requirements.  Most organisations will be legally required to include company details such as name, registered office address and company registration details.

What to include

When thinking about what to include within your email disclaimer beyond your legal requirements, most organisations will generally consider the following:-

Confidentiality  – A confidentiality notice aims to highlight that the contact of the email is confidential and that it should only be read by the intended recipient. However as the statement will be at the end of the email, it’s somewhat impractical for unintended recipients to unread an email once read.

Liability – A statement expressing that the content of the email is not the official view of the company is a sensible addition to any disclaimer. It can prevent your company from being liable for any negligent advice given by an employee or an employee sending defamatory statements etc.

Monitoring  – If your business uses technology to monitor your employee’s email you should include a statement explaining exactly what you monitor. Such as “ABC Inc may monitor email traffic data and also the content of emails.”

Contracts – It’s unwise to allow your employees to enter into a legal agreement via email, so include a statement specifically stating that no employee is authorised to conclude any binding agreement or contract within your disclaimer.

Viruses – Computer viruses can be transmitted by email, as a precaution, an email disclaimer should make this fact clear to the recipient and warn them to check all attachments.

Internal emails

Remember your email signature disclaimer isn’t just to protect your business from external risk but internal too. So make sure you use a disclaimer for both external and internal emails.

Personal disclaimers where necessary

You may want to consider creating individual email signature disclaimers for users such as company directors or senior officers etc.

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