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My Ex-Employer Won't Return My Notary Seal

NNA Hotline Tip logo

I quit my job and my employer kept my Notary seal and commission certificate, and he refuses to return them. I’m worried that someone may use my seal and I would be liable. What should I do?M.I., Florida

Florida Statutes 117.05(3)(b) state that the official seal and commission certificate are the exclusive property of the Notary and must be kept under the Notary’s exclusive control. It also says the seal and certificate must not be surrendered to any employer upon termination of employment, regardless of whether the employer paid for them.

You should write to your former employer and cite this particular statute as grounds for your employer returning your seal and commission certificate. In your letter you should also cite F.S. 117.05(3)(d) which says that any person who unlawfully possesses a Notary’s official seal is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. If your employer will not return your seal and certificate, you must notify the Department of State in writing to state that your seal is in possession of another person (F.S. 117.05(3)(c)) and request a duplicate Notary commission certificate. You may also contact local law enforcement to report that your seal is in the possession of an unauthorized person pursuant to F.S. 117.05(3)(d). Finally, you should contact your bonding company to obtain a replacement seal.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

7 Comments

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Chris_In_TX

02 Mar 2015

I would be interested in reading a follow-up to this article regarding what steps the Notary decided to use to request the return of notary seal/commission, and how the employer responded. Was intervention by local law enforcement needed?

Cathy

03 Mar 2015

I would also like to the out come of the employer keeping the seal you would think he would be aware of law in his state

Julie

04 Mar 2015

I too, would like to know to what extreme(s) this Notary had to take to get her seal back and how her employer reacted.Please keep us posted!

Mr. J

04 Mar 2015

Why did the notary not keep the seal and certificate in his/her own possession in the first place? You shouldn't leave those things at your job when you go home for the day. ALWAYS KEEP THEM WITH YOU! Your notarial commission is issued to you personally, not to your employer. This is just basic common sense in this field.

tina

11 Mar 2015

I will make a police report it is consider he has stolen your property. Good luck and the call better business bureau.

Julie

30 Mar 2015

Any resolution to this yet? Mr. J - you don't know the circumstances on why the seal wasn't on her possession. I keep mine locked in my desk drawer because I use it 95% of the time at work and I know it's 'safe'. My purse and car aren't. I take it with me if I get a request to notarize outside of work.

Julie

15 Apr 2015

Could someone from the NNA contact M.I. in Florida and ask if they got their stamp & seal back and what measures did s/he have to take to get them back? Thanks!

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