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My Boss Is Pressuring Me To Notarize Without The Signer Present!

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My boss has asked me to notarize a signature for the president of my association without his being present. I refused, citing the state Notary Handbook. I mentioned the consequences for both myself and the employer if I were to improperly notarize the document. Both my boss and the president were very upset, and my boss suggested that I might lose my job. What can I do if this happens in the future? J.S., Vienna, Virginia

You were correct. Notaries frequently have a tough role when asked to accommodate a signer’s wishes, because Notaries must also uphold the Notary laws of their state.

The Virginia Notary state handbook states that the key function of a notarization is to be certain that the person appearing before the Notary is who he or she claims to be. Under Virginia law [Code of Virginia Section 47.1-28(B)], it is a misdemeanor for an employer to willfully induce an employee-Notary to commit official misconduct. By refusing an illegal notarial act, you protected your employer as well as yourself. If this happens again, possibly your association could arrange for you or a traveling Notary to go to the president’s location to get the document notarized.

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

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6 Comments

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Darls Perks

29 Nov 2015

That happened to me once as well. We had some workers who needed ID clearances completed. They would be in the office during a time when I wouldn't, then would be out on their job. Luckily, I had started taking my notarial supplies with me instead of keeping them hidden in my office. Their boss, who is a VP had actually searched my office and was going to notarize them himself. He is not a notary himself to my knowledge. When he saw me, he then asked me to notarize the forms without the employees there...I refused. I did suggest that I could go to them where they were in the field that day and notarize. They were only working about a mile from the office. V9SwwPThat is what I did. I know how you feel though...that VP was quite angry with me. It wasn't the first time we had a difference of opinion and he never did like that I held my ground if I truly believed I was correct!

Darls Perks

02 Dec 2015

That happened to me once as well. We had some workers who needed ID clearances completed. They would be in the office during a time when I wouldn't, then would be out on their job. Luckily, I had started taking my notarial supplies with me instead of keeping them hidden in my office. Their boss, who is a VP had actually searched my office and was going to notarize them himself. He is not a notary himself to my knowledge. When he saw me, he then asked me to notarize the forms without the employees there...I refused. I did suggest that I could go to them where they were in the field that day and notarize. They were only working about a mile from the office. V9SwwPThat is what I did. I know how you feel though...that VP was quite angry with me. It wasn't the first time we had a difference of opinion and he never did like that I held my ground if I truly believed I was correct!

Deborah Lee Duke

12 Jan 2016

Seems like the penalty to an employer should be more than a misdemeanor.

DAvid L Boyd

12 Jan 2016

Do your job according to the law in state, and also terminate your commission to avoid illegal acts for JA boss they think own you are something I am sure notary is not a job requirement only a good to have So would pay for my own next time.

Cheryl Kaster

13 Jan 2016

In Hawaii our acknowledgment or jurat both say that the person appeared in front of me, and of course for the jurat, that they signed in front of me and that I gave them an oath. To do what the boss asked, in Hawaii, would also require that I complete a false acknowledgment or jurat.

Jonathan Medina

13 Jan 2016

If they continue to threaten your employment status, you could point out that asking you to break the law would open them up to litigation. Here in California, this would be a pretty easy wrongful termination case. I could recommend a great Southern California employment attorney.

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