You may have initially become a notary to complete work-related tasks at the request of your employer. Even if you provide notary services solely for your employer, you are obliged to follow state laws and regulations, as well as professional standards of practice that would be expected of independent notaries. State notary laws may prescribe specific rules for notary-employees and the notarizations they perform while at work.
It's important for notary-employees to avoid being coerced to perform improper notarizations for their employers. Notaries who are familiar with state notary laws, best practices, and the duties and obligations of their notary commission are less likely to be taken advantage of by their employer.
Employer and Notary-Employee Liability
Employers may mistakenly think that they are liable for the notarizations of notary-employees who perform notarial duties outside of work. Some may try to prohibit their employees from performing notarizations off the clock.
While many states allow an employer to dictate when a notary-employee may perform notarizations on the job, notaries are free to perform a notarization for any member of the public at any time. Your employer is not liable for any notary acts you perform on your own time outside of work.
Notary-employees must be firm and refuse to sign or seal a notarial certificate unless the signer is physically present and has a proper, full notarial act. There are no exceptions. Following state laws and best practices is a critical way that notaries can protect themselves from lawsuits.
If an employee-notary performs an improper notarial act that causes a party to the document to suffer damages, both the notary and the employer are subject to full liability.
Leaving Your Current Position
If you leave your current position through resignation or termination, you must remember that your employer may not take possession of your notary seal or journal, even if your employer paid for the supplies. You must take the supplies with you. Your commission, seal, and notary journal belong to you. You must always keep your seal and journal in your possession. Never give them to anyone, including your employer.
If a former employer refuses to allow you to take your notary supplies, you can contact your state notary division or the experts at the Notary Association of America® for advice on how to proceed.
Join the official Notary Association of America community of notaries on our LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12222875/