Why and How You Can Use a Legal Disclaimer in an Email Signature

1. What is an Email Signature Disclaimer?
2. Why do Companies Include Disclaimers In Their Emails?
3. How to Add a Disclaimer Message to Your Email Signature
4. Best Email Signature Disclaimers Tips
5. Top 4 Email Disclaimer Law for Email Signature
6. 12 Extra Disclaimer Samples Which You Can Use in Your Signature

For many businesses, email is the number one communications channel. It is fast and easy-to-use, but companies also need to protect the information contained in corporate email messages. That leads to the development of the email disclaimers.

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What is an email signature disclaimer?

The email disclaimer is a notice or warning added to outgoing email with the intention of limiting your liability. As a rule, placed at the bottom of an email signature as a separate section, the disclaimer typically begins by putting the reader ‘on notice’ that the message contents are of a confidential nature and therefore the email should not be read by anyone else than the intended recipient.

Why do companies include disclaimers in their emails?

A disclaimer can help protect your company in these areas:

  • To make your email more confidential

Sometimes an email is intended for a particular person only. For example, law firms can get into a lot of trouble if some personal data is leaked. Placing a confidentiality disclaimer at the end of email messages protects them from this risk.

  • To disclaim the formation of a contract

Using the disclaimer, an employer can inform the recipient that the employee doesn't have the required authority to conclude contracts without a manager to ratify them.

  • To protect copyright

protect copyright

If you are, for instance, a designer emailing a concept design, be sure to include a legal disclaimer in your email signature stating that the design is protected by copyright law.

  • To protect from viruses or not appropriate content

Imagine the situation when your employee sent an infected email to one of your customers. And after a while, the customer informed you that their tech team found out that the virus had got into their system from the email from your company and destroyed the computer. To prevent such situations, include a disclaimer telling the recipient that your company can't be held responsible if the email message is containing viruses or any other malicious software, and it would be best for recipients to scan email attachments before opening them.

  • To disclaim a negligent statement

When a third party relies upon professional advice of an organization and the advice could have serious consequences, an email disclaimer can protect the organization from being sued for negligent misstatement.

  • To meet regional legal or regulatory requirements

In some countries, there are industry regulations that prescribe companies to include disclaimers into all email correspondence. By following the regulations' requirements, organizations are protecting themselves from being penalized by the state.

  • To disclaim the employer’s liability for the views of the sender

Let the recipient know that the employee is the one who will be personally liable for the views and opinions presented in the content of the email.

How to add a disclaimer message to your email signature

As mentioned before, large organizations can be held responsible for the information their employees send by email. When there are a lot of hires, a company can't monitor every message sent by their employees. Therefore, such organizations add disclaimers to email signatures. You can use software like NEWOLDSTAMP to add a custom-tailored disclaimer in the signature to each outgoing email. If you want to try adding email legal disclaimer to your signature, go to the editor and add the disclaimer on the right side. Find the block called “Signature Apps” and choose a ready-to-use disclaimer or add your own text.

NEWOLDSTAMP email signature example with disclaimer

 

Create Email Signature with Disclaimer

Best email signature disclaimers tips

You should also know several simple rules regarding email disclaimers if you want them to work for you rather than against you.

  • Tip #1: Add different disclaimers in different signatures or departments

Although a company-wide disclaimer might be a good option for many companies, we recommend developing individual disclaimers for a business group or department. For example, personnel of the sales department might need a disclaimer saying that all quotes are only valid for thirty days. The financial department might need a confidential email disclaimer that includes a notice that the information cannot be duplicated or distributed without permission.

  • Tip #2: Use custom or personal disclaimer text if necessary

Develop personal disclaimers for some team members if necessary. For instance, a person who frequently sends emails with attachments might need a more pronounced warning about viruses and other malware.

  • Tip #3: Append or prepend disclaimers

You may choose to append or prepend a disclaimer depending on how confidential your email communication needs to be. For example, if you work in a law firm, you would probably prefer to prepend the disclaimer, while a sales manager from a flower shop is more likely to choose to append the disclaimer.

  • Tip #4: Use confidentiality headers in an email disclaimer

For sensitive messages, we recommend adding a confidentiality header that states for whom the email is intended. Put the header at the top of the message because it will be the first thing a recipient will read.

  • Tip #5: Length and other awards

NEWOLDSTAMP email signature with disclaimer 2

Don't add everything to your disclaimer. Instead, write a few lines and provide a link to a more extended version with more detailed information.

If you want to give your simple email disclaimer a beautiful, professional design and combine it with a good-looking email signature, be sure to read this article.

Also, check “Email Signature Best Practices.”

Top 4 email disclaimer law for email signature

Many laws and regulations enforce the usage of disclaimers for emails in some instances. So here are a few of them for you to understand the importance of disclaimers.

  • EU email disclaimer

EU flag

According to EU regulations, all business emails should include a legal disclaimer with the organization's registration number, the place of registration, and office address. Pay attention that different EU countries adopted this regulation in a number of ways. Some of them require businesses to indicate whether the company is a limited company, others insist on including the name of the managing director.

  • Canadian email disclaimer

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Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) applies to all commercial emails sent to users in Canada. The law requires all outgoing messages to include such details of the sender as a company name, business address, phone number, email or web address. Furthermore, every email must also provide an opt-out (unsubscribe) mechanism. In case of non-compliance, a company may be fined up to 10 million per violation.

  • US email disclaimer  

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In the USA,  the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) obliges healthcare facilities to maintain records of their email communications and secure data confidentiality. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) have similar requirements to financial institutions. Although those organizations are not obliged to use legal disclaimers, they are considered to be a suitable method of informing recipients about the risks related to sending personal information via email.

  • UK email disclaimer

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UK laws require all private or public limited companies to include the following information in a disclaimer for business emails: a company registration number, place of registration (Scotland or England & Wales), and registered office address. Penalties for non-compliance can reach up to £1,000 per violation.

Although a legal disclaimer may not provide 100% protection in courts around the world, its use is still a good practice for a company which wants to minimize this risk of legal action against it.

12 extra disclaimer samples which you can use in your signature

In this paragraph, we have selected some good email disclaimer examples to help you with content for various situations.

Email disclaimer sample #1: Breach of confidentiality

The entire content of this email message is confidential. This also applies to any files attached to it. This email is intended for an individual or entity to whom they are addressed. In case you are not the addressee of this email, and you have received it in error, contact the system manager immediately. The information in this email is very sensitive, and it is intended for the specific addressee. This email should not be disseminated, distributed or copied. If you have received this email and it was not for you, make sure to notify the sender by email immediately and afterward delete this email from your system. Disclosing, copying, distributing, or taking any action in reliance on the email content is strictly prohibited. Consider yourself notified.

Email disclaimer sample #2: Employer's liability

Views and opinions presented in the content of this email are solely those of the email author. They don't necessarily represent those of the organization. Our employees are explicitly required not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right by email communication, as well not to make defamatory statements. Our company policy is clear, and you can access it here. It states that any such communication is contrary to our policy and outside the scope of the organizational role of the individual concerned. Considering all this, please be informed that the company will not accept any liability in respect to such communication. If there is any damage or other liability arising, the employee is the one who will be personally liable.

Email disclaimer sample #3: Unintentional transmission of computer viruses

The email can contain computer viruses that may infect your computer. The recipient of this email should scan this email and all of its attachments if there are any. The organization will accept no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted via this email. Emails can be intercepted, lost, destroyed, corrupted, contain viruses, or arrive late or incomplete. This is why email correspondence cannot be guaranteed to be secured or error-free. This is why the sender does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this message, which arise as a result of the email transmission.

Email disclaimer sample #4: Entering into contracts prevention

Please be informed that no employee or agent is authorized to conclude any legally binding agreement on behalf of "Company Name" with the 3rd party via email. This can be only done if the employee or agent in question has a confirmation explicitly written by the "Company Director" for that specific occasion.

Email disclaimer sample #5: Protection of negligent misstatement

Our company cannot be held responsible for the content of this email, nor can it be responsible for the consequences of the actions taken based on the information we have provided in this mail. We accept liability only if we have subsequently confirmed the information found in email in writing. Please make sure that you are the intended recipient of this email. If you are not, please notice that disclosing, copying, distributing, or taking any action in reliance to the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

Email disclaimer sample #6: Unsubscribe from the newsletter

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter. The "Company name" team will work hard to deliver good and valuable information in the fields you have specified when you were subscribing. However, in case you decide that you no longer want to receive newsletters from us, you can unsubscribe by clicking the link here.

Email disclaimer sample #7: Environmental

Please do not print this email unless it is absolutely necessary. Every time you don't print an email, you are helping the environment.

Email disclaimer sample #8: Development, Finance, or Accounting Departments

This message contains confidential information and is intended only for [recipient name]. If you are not the named addressee, you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this email. Please notify the sender immediately if you have received this email by mistake and delete this email from your system. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The organization accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email. [Date] Organization, Suite# 1, Street, City, Country, www.organization.org.

Email disclaimer sample #9: IT Department

Our organization 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 the organization. WARNING: Computer viruses can be transmitted via email. The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The organization accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email. [Date]

Email disclaimer sample #10: Secretarial Department

This message is sent on behalf of [Manager] and is intended for [Recipient]. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. [Organization] 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]. [Date]

Email disclaimer sample #11: Board of Directors

This message contains confidential information and is intended for [Recipient]. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. Email 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 email transmission. If verification is required, please request a hard-copy version. [Date] Organization, Suite# 1, Street, City, Country, www.organization.org.

Email disclaimer sample #12: Internal Disclaimer

This message is intended only for [recipient name]. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. Employees of [Organization] are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right by email communications. Any such communication is contrary to organization policy and outside the scope of the employment of the individual concerned. The organization will not accept any liability in respect of such communication, and the employee responsible will be personally liable for any damages or other liability arising. Employees who receive such an email must notify their supervisor immediately. Please visit our intranet for a copy of [Organization]’s email policy. [Date], Organization, Suite# 1, Street, City, Country.

Conclusion

To protect you and your business, it is advisable to use an email disclaimer when sending out business related emails. Today, most email clients allow users to create email signatures, which will also include a disclaimer. Fast and easy. However, when it comes to multiple employees, it becomes hard to control whether all of them have professional email signatures with the necessary disclaimers. Therefore, it is best to use email signature software to create and manage disclaimers from a central location without a need to ask each team member to do this.