TERMS OF SERVICE

Last Updated: June 18, 2017

IF YOU OR ANYONE IN YOUR WORKPLACE ARE IN DANGER OR NEED EMERGENCY HELP, CALL 911.

SCOPE; ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

At Empower Work (“Empower Work”, “we”, or “us”), our goal is to help people navigate a tough work situation -- however they define it -- and come to an outcome they feel comfortable with. We want to empower people to be able to take the next step that’s right for them.

Before using or accessing the service provided by Empower Work (the “Service”), please read the following. By accessing or using the Service you agree to these Terms of Service (the “Terms of Service”) and the privacy policy (the “Privacy Policy” and together with the Terms of Service, these “Terms”) described below. These Terms govern your access and use of the Service. You may contact us by email at team@empowerwork.org with questions about these Terms. If you don’t agree to these Terms, you may not use the Service. If you no longer wish to receive messages, you may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP.

Each time that you first send a text or web message to Empower Work, you’ll receive automated reply message(s) with a link to our current Terms of Service so you may review them before continuing to use Empower Work. Using Empower Work after receiving those text message(s) shall constitute your acceptance of the Terms of Service.

The Short Version

We value your privacy, we will respect anonymity, and we will not share your data or information. We reserve the right to end the service.

The Longer Version

MODIFICATION OF THE TERMS OF SERVICE

This statement may be modified from time to time as our service adjusts to best meet the needs of those using it. The latest version will always be on our website www.empowerwork.org. Your use of the Service after any such modifications have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Terms of Service.

NATURE AND USE OF INFORMATION PROVIDED THROUGH THE SERVICE

Please remember that your participation in Empower Work does not constitute any type of confidential relationship. Empower Work is an accessible peer-based counseling chat.  It is not bound by attorney-client privilege, doctor-patient privilege, or any other confidential interaction. Empower Work is not a substitute for legal counsel or professional health care. If you believe you or someone in your workplace is in immediate danger, please call 911.

Neither Empower Work nor any of our employees, peer counselors, or agents are responsible for any decisions, or results of the decisions that you make while, as a result of, or after using the Service. This includes whether you choose to seek or not seek additional professional support, legal action, or take employment action in other ways, or to modify the approach you’re currently taking to your work situation based on the information provided by this service.

You are the decisionmaker. You are in the place of power to determine what course is best for you. We will ask questions and support thoughtful deliberation. Only you control your actions, reactions, and next steps.

SURVEY

At the end of your conversation, you may receive a link to take a survey. We want to learn from you so that we can continue to tweak and adjust our Service to provide the best support we can.  Some policies surrounding the survey:

1. Responses are anonymous.

2. You can skip anything you like (questions or the survey entirely!).

3. If you leave a note, we will share it with your peer counselor! It might also be used for marketing and training to show our impact. No names or personal information will ever be shared.

RISKS, USE OF SERVICE

You assume all risk for use of the service. Neither Empower Work nor any of our employees, peer counselors, agents, service providers, or any other entities with whom Empower Work has contracted shall have any liability for (1) actions taken by you or a third party, or not taken by you or a third party, or (2) the unavailability of the service, and you agree to indemnify us and hold us harmless for damages arising out of (A) your use of the Service, (B) your breach of these Terms, (C) your violation of the law, (D) claims asserted by third parties that you are in breach of these Terms or (E) information provided by you through Empower Work. Without limiting the foregoing, in no event shall Empower Work be liable for any special, incidental, consequential, exemplary or indirect damages.

The service is provided on an “as is” basis and “as available” basis. (But we aspire to be great and we are constantly improving.) Empower Work and its service providers expressly disclaim all warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Empower Work and its service providers make no warranty that Empower Work will (A) meet your requirements; (B) be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free; or (C) meet your expectations. The foregoing disclaimers of liability apply to all damages or injury, including those caused by any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or delay in operation or transmission, whether for breach of contract, tortious behavior, including negligence, or any other cause of action.

PROHIBITED USES; RIGHT TO TERMINATE ACCESS

You may use Empower Work only for lawful purposes and in accordance with these Terms. You agree to use the Service only for lawful and legitimate purposes. You agree not to use the Service:

  • in any way that violates any applicable federal, state, local and international law or regulation;

  • for the purpose of exploiting, harming or attempting to exploit or harm other people in any way;

  • to threaten, harass, or otherwise inappropriately abuse Empower Work, its employees, partners, agents, subcontractors, peer counselors, or others;

  • to send, knowingly receive, upload, download, use or re-use any content which does not comply with these Terms;

  • to “spam,” gather or attempt to gather personal information belonging to users or others for the purposes of spamming, marketing, selling to third parties, or otherwise abusing Empower Work or its users;

  • to impersonate or attempt to impersonate another person or entity; or

  • to engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone’s use or enjoyment of the Services, or which, as determined by us, may harm Empower Work or users of the Services or expose them to liability; or

  • to copy, adapt, decompile, reverse engineer, attempt to discover the source code of or make a derivative works of the Service or any portion of the Service; or

  • to otherwise attempt to interfere with the Service of Empower Work.

Empower Work reserves the right to terminate your access to the Service if you violate these Terms, including by engaging in the prohibited uses described above.

To keep it simple: please be respectful and thoughtful in using our Service. We’re doing our best to help people navigate tough work situations. If you abuse our Service, we will end your access.

Empower Work reserves the right to end your access to the Service at any point. For example, we might determine that you’d be better served by a different kind of support or that you require service beyond those that we can reasonably provide to you.

Empower Work further reserves the right to terminate the Service or your access to it, for any other reason, at our sole discretion.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES

You may contact us through third party websites, applications or services (“Third Party Services”). However, these Terms only apply to you and Empower Work. We are not responsible for, and make no representations regarding the policies of business practices of any Third Party Services. If you contact us through a Third Party Service, you are subject to these Terms as well as the terms and policies of the Third Party Service. We encourage you to review the terms and policies of any Third Party Service you use to contact Empower Work. If you do not wish to be subject to a Third Party Service’s terms or policies, please do not contact Empower Work through a Third Party Service; instead you should contact us by texting 510-674-1414.

GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS

These Terms of Service and the provision of the Service is governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of California without giving effect to principles of conflict of law. Empower Work and you both consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the city of San Francisco (because that’s where we’re based).

The Service is operated in the United States and serves a U.S. audience. If you are located outside the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using the Service and/or providing us with your information, you consent to that collection and transfer.

SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT

If a court finds any provision of these Terms of Service to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent possible and the remaining terms shall remain in full force and effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and Empower Work, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings. (Basically, what you’re reading now is what you and Empower Work agree to.)

PRIVACY AND SECURITY

We take your privacy and security very seriously, so we employ reasonable security controls (including encryption) to help protect your information. Despite these protections, SMS remains an imperfectly secure environment and there are some really persistent hackers out there. We are trying hard, but Empower Work cannot guarantee protection from intruders, hackers or interceptors. You agree to use the Service and submit information to Empower Work at your own risk, and you agree that Empower Work has no liability regarding anyone’s unauthorized access to our Service or the data associated with it.

Additionally, we care about the privacy and safety of our staff and peer counselors. In using the Service, you agree to not communicate with our counselors outside of the Service. If you have questions, comments or feedback for us, please email team@empowerwork.org.

PRIVACY POLICY

Last Updated: June 18, 2017

INTRODUCTION; SCOPE

At Empower Work (“Empower Work”, “we” or “us”), our goal is to help people navigate a tough work situation -- however they define it -- and come to an outcome they feel comfortable with. We want to empower people to be able to take the next step that’s right for them.

Importantly, we also want you to feel safe when you chat with us. We want you to share as much about your work situation as you feel comfortable so that we can be in the best position to help you think through it.

Your privacy and security are very important to us. To make sure we’re doing everything we can to secure your information, we communicate our privacy and security guidelines to Empower Work employees and peer counselors. We stringently enforce these privacy safeguards.

This privacy policy (the “Privacy Policy”) governs your use of Empower Work’s Service, describes what information we collect, and explains how we use, transfer and store your information after we collect it. This policy will inform you if and to whom we disclose any of that information, and what choices you have in how we use that information. So before using the Service, please read the following.

YOUR CONSENT AND MODIFICATIONS TO PRIVACY POLICY

By using Empower Work, you agree to the practices outlined in this Privacy Policy. Empower Work may modify this Privacy Policy from time to time, so please consult it regularly for any such changes. Any modifications will be effective immediately upon our posting them to our website at empowerwork.org. Your use of the Service after any such modifications have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Privacy Policy.

Each time that you first send a text message to Empower Work, you’ll receive a couple automated reply text message(s) with a link to our current Privacy Policy so you may review them before continuing to use the Service. Using the Empower Work service after receiving those text message(s) shall constitute your acceptance of the Privacy Policy.

COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

“Personally Identifiable Information” is data that can be used to uniquely identify you, such as your full name or home address. During your use of Empower Work, we would only ask for Personally Identifiable Information if we believe it would help us better serve you (such as connecting you to local legal or employment resources). You may be prompted (but never required) to voluntarily provide Personally Identifiable Information, including but not limited to, your name or home address.

While we may collect Personally Identifiable Information, we will not share it with any third parties except as noted in this Privacy Policy.

Empower Work uses the information it collects about you to, among other things, improve the Service, contact you if needed, provide anonymous reporting internally, and fulfill your requests, including but not limited to referrals to other services. In other words, we collect information so we can best help you and others who use the Service.

The following section provides examples of the types of Personally Identifiable Information Empower Work may collect and how we may use it.

WHAT PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION WE COLLECT

We do not collect any Personally Identifiable Information from you other than the phone number you text us from and additional information which you may volunteer to provide to us. Some of the types of Personally Identifiable Information that we may request include:

  • When you use the Service, we may request information including your name or zip code.

  • In situations where you or someone else is in danger or in need of emergency help, we may request your current location, or the current location of the person in danger.

HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

We use Personally Identifiable Information to help us develop, deliver, and improve our products, content, advertising and the Service.

  • We may also use Personally Identifiable Information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Empower Work’s products, services, and communications.

  • We may also use your information to help us personalize your experience with us and to operate, maintain and improve the features and functionality of our service.

COLLECTION AND USE OF NON-PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

We also collect non-Personally Identifiable Information, which is data that cannot be directly used to identify or contact you. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-Personally Identifiable Information for any purpose, including but not limited to improving volunteer services, disclosing to third parties to generate support for Empower Work, or as required by law.

Below are examples of non-Personally Identifiable Information that we collect and how we may use it:

  • We may collect information such as age, gender, language, zip code, area code, and the time zone where a phone is being used to contact the Service to better understand behavior and improve the Service.

  • We also may collect information regarding usage of Empower Work such as the conversation volume, average length of conversation, and other data. This information is aggregated and helps us conduct internal research so we can improve the quality of our Service.

DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES

At times we may make certain Personally Identifiable Information available to strategic partners that work with us.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMS

It’s our goal to support you in a tough work situation. While that likely does not involve emergency services, if a peer counselor identifies imminent harm to yourself or someone else (you have the desire, plan, means, timeframe), they may let you know they’re concerned about your safety. At this point, they might ask you where you are or what your name is. If they feel like you might not be able to keep yourself safe, they may contact local law enforcement or EMS.

PEER COUNSELORS

We operate the Service in conjunction with volunteer and staff peer counselors (“Peer Counselors”). Any information, including Personally Identifiable Information, that you share with the Service may be viewed by Empower Work staff or Peer Counselors for quality control, to contact emergency services or to better assist you with your situation.

If you provide feedback through our anonymous feedback survey, that feedback may be shared with Empower Work Staff and Peer Counselors. We want to provide the best service, and are eager to learn from your feedback!

OUTSIDE REFERRALS

Sometimes, we may refer you to other support. There are some really great resources out there! We will give you their contact info but we will NOT give them your contact info. It’s up to you if you want to use the referral. If you would like to receive support from other services, please note that different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information. We do not control the privacy policies of others. We encourage you to ask questions before you disclose your Personally Identifiable Information to others.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES

If you contact us through a Third Party Service (A) both Empower Work and the third party that runs the Third Party Service may have access to the content of the messages you share and (B) your information may be shared between us and that third party. For example, we and the third part may exchange your location information to contact local law enforcement or emergency services in an emergency.

OTHER THIRD PARTIES; LEGAL PROCESSES

In certain narrow circumstances, we may disclose Personally Identifiable Information we collect from you to additional third parties if we believe such disclosure is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Empower Work, its affiliates, employees, or agents, including but not limited to Peer Counselors; (C) to enforce this Privacy Policy or our terms of service; (D) in connection with a merger, acquisition, liquidation, or corporate divestiture of Empower Work or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Service or its infrastructure systems properly.

Note that Empower Work’s staff and Peer Counselors are located across the United States, and may not be licensed in your state or trained in your state’s law. Other state laws may apply to your communications, and those state laws may not protect your communications to the same degree, or in the same way, as the laws of your state.

RESEARCHERS

We may share information about conversations with researchers at universities and other institutions. We would only share data with trusted researchers when it will result in insights that create a better experience for our texters. 

RETENTION OF INFORMATION

Empower Work retains data for reasons including but not limited to improving the quality of our Service, complying with federal research grant and other reporting requirements, and potentially creating open data sets to improve workplace support.

Retention policies and security measures match the sensitivity of the data. You may request more information by contacting us at team@empowerwork.org.

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

Empower Work cares about you and the security of your Personally Identifiable Information. We take reasonable precautions, including administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. We store all information on servers and we only permit approved Empower Work employees and third parties to access those servers pursuant to the practices described above.

We employ different security techniques to protect your Personally Identifiable Information from unauthorized access, including standard encryption practices. However, perfect security does not exist anywhere, including for text messaging/SMS data. Although we believe we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that your Personally Identifiable Information or communications with Empower Work will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy, and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures to prevent unauthorized access or interception by third parties.

YOU SHOULD ALSO PROTECT YOURSELF

Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personally Identifiable Information. We are not responsible for, and cannot control, what others not affiliated with Empower Work or Peer Counselors do with information you provide to them.

One suggestion: you might want to delete Empower Work conversations from your phone. You might even want to clear us from your history and make sure we are not saved in your contact list. If contacting our website, we encourage using an incognito or anonymous web browser and clearing your browser history. We totally understand if you want to take these steps and others, to ensure that your relationship to Empower Work remains your business.

ACCESS/CHANGES TO PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION

You may request that we delete your Personally Identifiable Information, such as last name, physical address, zip code, phone number, and texts/message transcripts by texting in the keyword CLEAR, after which you will be prompted to confirm your request.

We will make reasonable efforts to process deletion requests promptly, but may decline to process requests that are unreasonably repetitive, require unreasonable technical effort, jeopardize the privacy of you or others, are otherwise impractical, or which would conflict with an ongoing law enforcement matter. Additionally we will decline to process requests if we believe preservation of your Personally Identifiable Information is necessary: (A) to comply with the law or in response to a subpoena, court order, government request, or other legal process; (B) to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Empower Work, it’s affiliates, employees, or agents, including, but not limited to Peer Counselors; (C) to enforce this Privacy Policy or our terms of service; (D) in connection with a merger, acquisition, liquidation, or corporate divestiture of Empower Work or its affiliates, or (E) to address fraud, security, technical issues, or to operate the Service or its infrastructure systems properly.

GOVERNING LAW; INTERNATIONAL USERS

This Privacy Policy and the provision of the Service is governed solely by, and shall be interpreted according to, the laws of the State of California without giving effect to principles of conflict of law. Empower Work and you both consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in the city of San Francisco.

The Service is operated in the United States. If you are located outside of the United States, please be aware that any information you provide will be collected in or transferred to the United States. By using Empower Work and/or providing us with your information, you consent to that collection and transfer.

SEVERABILITY; ENTIRE AGREEMENT

If a court finds any provision of this Privacy Policy to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent possible and the remaining Terms shall remain in full force and effect. This Privacy Policy, together with our terms of service, constitutes the entire agreement between you and Empower Work, superseding any other written or oral agreements or understandings. (Basically, what you’re reading now is what you and Empower Work agree to.)

CONTACT US

If you have any questions or concerns about our Privacy Policy or the privacy practices described here, please contact: team@empowerwork.org.

Photo credit: Photo by Derick Anies on Unsplash