Email Signatures: Are you playing by the rules?

This article was originally published in 2014.

What’s on your email signature? It probably contains your name, job title, perhaps your department, company logo, and maybe even a little green tree with a reminder that printing emails is harmful to the environment. However, did you know that your email signature might actually be breaking the law? In the UK, if your business is a private limited company (LTD), a public limited company (PLC) or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), you are required by law to include specific information on your email footer.

This is stipulated by the Companies Act 2006, which states that company communications – including letterheads, order forms, company website and all business emails – must include the following information in legible characters:

  • Your company name;
  • Your company registration number;
  • Your place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales);
  • Your registered office address – note that this may be different to the office that you trade from.

Companies that fail to comply with these requirements won’t just be breaking the law – they could also face a fine of £1,000. According to Pinsent Masons, this requirement has existed for business letters for many years. An update to the Companies Act 2006, which took effect on 1st January 2007, accounted for the widespread use of digital communications by extending this duty to email messages. It is now contained within the Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008, which came into force on 1st October. Pinsent Masons advise that merely providing a link to this information from an email footer is not enough. Instead, the necessary information must be legible “in characters that can be read with the naked eye” – therefore the information must be printed clearly in a plain, sensible font of a suitable size.

Flexible workspace operators, suppliers and related companies must ensure that this information is included within their email footer – partly, of course, to avoid a hefty fine. But also because many clients that utilise the flexible workspace industry are established LTD, PLC and LLP companies that are familiar with these rules, and will expect to see the relevant information on all email footers and official business communications. Failure to provide this information could raise questions of your company’s integrity and even damage your reputation. As we have discussed previously, reputation is the new currency, and businesses that fail to comply with business laws such as this could stand to lose much more than a £1,000 fine.

Further information on this topic can be found on Pinsent Masons’ dedicated legal guidance website.

10 November 2014

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