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Employed Notaries – Your Seal, Commission, and Bond belongs to You and You Only!

posted May 29, 2016, 3:18 PM by AG Pro Serve Intl.

Did you become a notary as part of your job? Were your commission, bond, supplies, seal paid by your employer?

If you are an employed notary, who notarizes at work, you might be interested to know a few things about that in case you want to leave or are let go.

The State appoints a person as a notary, not an employer. Therefore, even if your commission, seal, bond, etc. were paid by your employer, they belong to you for they were issued under your name, not your employer’s!

Can employers withhold your notary commission, seal, supplies?

Legally, NO! No employer has the right to keep your notary commission, seal, etc.  In fact, doing so is a criminal offense!

Can my employer require me to resign from the office of Notary Public?

No! Only the Governor may request your resignation or suspend you from the office of notary public.

Should you worry about my employer keeping my notary supplies and commission?

Yes, very much! The seal, commission, bond were issued under your name, appointed as a notary public for a four-year commission, in FL. Other people cannot and should not have in their possession any of your notary items even if they do not use them; however, they may misuse it and cause you a lot of headache!

What should I do in case my employer retains them?

In FL, you can follow these steps if you find yourself in this case:

First, notify the Secretary of State or the Governor’s Office in writing that your seal is in the possession of someone else. Be sure to give us your commission number and date of birth for identification, and tell us the last date that your seal was in your possession.

Second, you may want to send a written request by certified mail to your employer requesting the return of your notary commission and seal. If your employer does not comply, you should file a report with the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. This may protect you in the event that your seal is used and a complaint is filed against you. It may also be your defense if you are sued or charged criminally for an improper notarization that you did not perform.

Third, you may obtain a duplicate notary commission certificate from the Department of StateNotary Commissions and Certifications Section, and another seal from your bonding agency or an office supply store. Your notary bond cannot be revoked, and you may continue serving as a notary public until the expiration of your term.

* If your notary seal is lost, misplaced, or stolen, you are required to notify the Department of State (or the Governor’s Notary Section) in writing. You should include your commission name and number, date of birth, and the last date the seal was in your possession.
Additionally, if your seal was stolen, you should file a report with your local law
enforcement agency.

Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries - Recently, I quit my job. My employer kept my notary seal and commission certificate and refuses to return them to me. I am worried that someone may use my seal and I would be liable. What should I do? p.65

More on Notary Seal – p.9

So if you find yourself in that position, you should notify your employer that he or she cannot make you resign from your notary public office and could face criminal charges for withholding your notary commission, seal, bond, journal, etc. because you’re the one appointed by the Governor and only him can request your resignation and remove you from the office.

Your seal, journal, commission, bond should not be handled or be in possession of anyone but the notary public who they lawfully belong to, so guard them well.

by Alessandra Jackson

AG Pro Serve Intl.