It was found that an officer`s statement that the employee “signed and confirmed” the agreement, as evidenced by an electronic copy of his or her name, unique username and the date on which he or she signed it, is not sufficient to prove the authenticity of the signature in the face of the employee`s refusal. Notwithstanding applicable law, the parties are generally free to negotiate terms to allow or prohibit the conclusion of a contract electronically. Before exchanging signatures by e-mail, it is advisable to check the specific terms of a contract in order to confirm that the parties have agreed to use electronic signatures and records. Applicable laws of states that have not passed UETA include the Electronic Commerce Security Act in Illinois (pursuant to the Illinois Compiled Statutes or ILCS) (codified as 5 ILCS 175) and the New York Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA) (codified as N.Y. State Tech§ 302). In 2019, Washington State rescinded its Electronic Signatures Act and is currently referring to the provisions of the ESIGN Act. The courts will recognize electronic signatures, but will make sure you can prove that the signature belongs to the employee concerned. And while it may be sufficient for employees to simply electronically insinuate a box in which they indicate that they have read the terms of an attached document, it is preferable to explicitly include in this field a language that says that the employee has read and accepted the agreements in question. Probably the employee.
Electronic signatures are not so easy. And so every employer has to make strategic decisions. An employer who needs the practicability and effectiveness of informal e-staff engagements – and who is willing to tolerate some ambiguities in applicability – may be consoled by the fact that most informal electronic job promises end up being good enough for their purposes. . . .