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Avoiding Electronic Signature Blues

Laws at both the state and federal level generally allow electronic signatures to have the same validity as their traditional handwritten counterparts. In an employment context, these laws can cover a wide range of documents. A threshold question that can arise for employers is whether it was in fact the employee who personally made the electronic signature. Multiple courts have found that an electronic signature was invalid where an employer was unable to sufficiently establish that the signature was made by the employee.

Employers can take proactive steps at the time an electronic signature is made to protect against the chance that it might later be invalidated. Employers must ensure—and be able to prove, if necessary—that all parties consented and intended to conduct transactions electronically. Employers also should consider implementing policies and procedures that minimize the chance that someone other than an employee is signing on his or her behalf, and procedures whereby employees acknowledge they have signed electronically.