By default, you can just add the required disclaimer text to your email signature design. However, using the Disclaimer module you gain more flexibility without having to copy-paste the same disclaimer text into several email signatures. Also, if you are using the Marketing module, your marketing messages will be shown before the disclaimer which will increase click-through.
Departmental email disclaimers
Most businesses add the same disclaimer to all emails. However, what you attempt to disclaim will depend on your job function.
For instance, sales department might need a statement covering the validity of quotes and disclaim responsibility for any action taken in reliance upon information given. For example:
All quotes from [Company] are valid for 30 days following the date of email transmission. [Company] accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing.
The financial department might need a disclaimer that concentrates on the confidential nature of the information. For example:
This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the addressee(s). If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail.
The IT department or helpdesk must disclaim against responsibility for the effects of their advice.
For instance if they were to advise a user to change something on their computer and the user does not implement this correctly causing system down time, the company does not want to be held liable for this. For example:
[Company] accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of [Company].
WARNING: Computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. [Company] accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.
You could include a statement for assistants that they are acting on behalf of their manager and that the manager must confirm any agreements in emails in writing. For example:
This message is sent on behalf of [Manager]. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are strictly prohibited to disclose, copy, distribute or take any action in reliance on the contents of this information.
[Company] accepts no liability for the content of this email, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing by [Manager].
The Board of Directors will mainly face confidentiality issues. Additional care should be taken in drafting these disclaimers. For example:
This message and its attachments contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient , you are strictly prohibited to disclose, copy, distribute or take any action in reliance on the contents of this information.
E-mail transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free, as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message, which arise as a result of e-mail transmission. If verification is required please request a hard-copy version.
The confidentiality notice is an attempt to say that the content of the email is confidential and that it should not be read by anyone other than the intended recipient.
There is no legal authority on the effectiveness of the notice in email messages; but that is not to say that it should not be used, provided care is taken in drafting it.
The following wording would be appropriate for a confidentiality notice:
This message is private and confidential. If you have received this message in error, please notify us and remove it from your system.
The value of the notice is that, if the disclosure of the content of an email becomes a subject of dispute, it would be possible to point a court to the existence of the confidentiality notice and argue that the recipient should have known to not disclose the contents of the message.
Legal issues in internal and external emails
It is best to include disclaimers on internal as well as external emails, since the same legal issues apply to both.
Although the contract issues will mainly apply to external emails, the confidentiality and libel aspects will be just as important for internal email as they are for external mail.
For instance, there have been cases where employees sued their employers for emails with sexual or other offensive content circulating the office.
As for confidentiality, this might even be more of an issue for internal email, since not only is there quite a good chance that a colleague might accidentally read a confidential email, an insider will recognize the importance of the information much faster than an outsider.
Create a disclaimer
- eMailSignature > Modules, Disclaimer, New:
A new disclaimer with a default name is created. You will need to rename it.
- Open the newly created disclaimer and 'Rename':
Select the disclaimer to be renamed from the list. Write the new disclaimer name and click 'Rename'.
- Select a disclaimer:
- Modify the disclaimer text.
- Select 'The disclaimer is active' check box and select signatures that will use the disclaimer:
- Click 'Save'.