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Electronic Signature Policy
Policy Description & Purpose
Royale AgLabor, Inc. e-signature policy shall be used to increase productivity and ensure convenient, timely, and appropriate access to Company and/or user submitted record information by using electronic signature technology to collect and preserve signatures on documents quickly, securely, and efficiently.
This policy establishes Royale AgLabor, Inc.’s approach for adopting electronic signature (e-signature) technology and best practices to ensure electronic signatures applied to official Company records are legally valid and enforceable.
Electronic signature technology is used to authenticate identity and to verify the integrity of signed electronic records. Electronic signatures document the signer’s intent, provide evidence that a specific individual signed the electronic record, and maintain an electronic record of the signature that cannot be changed without detection. Please refer to our Software & Security Policy to get in-depth. Information as to what technological measures have been put in place to ensure data security.
While the use of electronic signatures is suggested and encouraged, this policy does not require any department or agency, potential or current employee to use electronic signatures, nor can Royale AgLabor, Inc. mandate that any third party signing a document use electronic signature.
Deciding whether e-signatures are an acceptable way to authenticate records means consulting the regulations of the jurisdiction (federal, regional), industry guidelines (e.g. research, engineering), and all parties in the approval process.
Scope and audience
An electronic signature is data in electronic form that are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and serves as a method of authentication. It is the broad umbrella category under which all electronic signatures fall.
The legality and use of electronic signatures are governed by federal and state law.
This policy applies to all full-time and part-time Company employees, contractors, and other authorized agents who need to sign records (e.g. documents, forms, correspondence, and/or emails) in support of Company business and administrative operations.
The policy does not mandate the:
Use of an electronic signature.
Application to those internal operational type documents which require an informal routing or acknowledgement.
Method or software used for any specific need, so long as the method adopted conforms to the minimum standards outlined in this document.
A handwritten signature may be required for documents or notices pertaining to:
Cancelation of health insurance
Any documents where the risk or legal liability is deemed untenable by Royale Ag Labor, Inc.
The Accountable Officer is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy. The Human Resource Director, Jennifer Viramontes, has been designated for this role.
All employees are responsible for ensuring they are familiar with and act in compliance with this policy. They should identify the need for a change in policy or procedure as a result of becoming aware of changes in practice or regulatory requirements.
A member of staff who fails to comply with this policy may be subjected to action under Royale AgLabor, Inc. HR Policy.
It is the responsibility of managers to ensure that their staff are made aware of the existence of this policy and its content.
Documents involving other parties
In the case of contracts or transactions that must be signed by outside parties, each party to the agreement must agree in advance to the use of an electronic signature. No party to a contract or other online document or form may be forced to accept an electronic signature; they must be permitted to decide either way. Such consent may be withdrawn by the other party at any time such that future documents must be signed in hardcopy format.
When a document is electronically signed by all parties, Royale AgLabor, Inc. will provide a copy of the electronically signed document to the other parties in an electronic format that is capable of being retained and printed by the other parties.
Setup and use
To set up employees authorized to send out documents for e-signature, Company security administrators should contact their IT manager.
All Company users of electronic signature technology shall conform to the rules set forth by Royale AgLabor, Inc. Internal Procedures.
Storage and archiving of electronically signed documents
If a document exists only electronically, steps should be taken by the document owner or department head to ensure that a fixed version of the final document is stored in some manner. It is up to the document owner or department head to decide how to store these final electronic documents so long as it does so in a manner consistent with any applicable Company retention policies and any applicable laws.
E-signature Solution Providers
Royale AgLabor, Inc. Information Technology department in association with Masken Solutions, LLC will be responsible for determining acceptable technologies and e-signature providers consistent with current legal requirements and industry best practices to ensure the security and integrity of the data and the signature.
Companies shall not divulge personal identifiable information (PII), and all documents transmitted electronically shall be in compliance with:
The Right to Privacy Act
The Privacy Act
The Financial Privacy Act
All California policies requiring confidentiality of PII
Notification that Electronic Signatures are Legally Binding
Before signing any document electronically, users will be presented with language provided by Royale AgLabor, Inc. that informs them that the e-signature is as legally binding as a manual signature. Users will be required to affirm that they have read and understood.
Royale AgLabor, Inc. will record the date, time, and fact that the signer indicated his or her intent and retain the information for evidentiary purposes. This may be different than the time the signer accessed the application or was authenticated.
Retain all electronically signed documents in accordance with all Policy & Procedures set forth herein or in Data Management & Record Retention Policies .
A specific signature technology implementation of electronic signature that uses cryptography to provide additional proof of the identity of a signer and integrity of a document. This cryptography uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology to issue digital certificates. Validation is done through trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) or Trust Service Providers (TSPs).
Information which is generated electronically and stored by means of computer technology.
Electronic signature (e-signature)
A paperless method used to authorize or approve documents, which indicates that a person adopts or agrees to the meaning or content of the document. An electronic identifier created by a computer, attached to, affixed to, or logically associated with an electronic record, executed, or adopted by a person with the intention of using it to have the same force and effect as the use of a manual signature.
Some items are not considered signed using e-signatures, e.g. mortgages, securities, and transfers of property. In many jurisdictions, these require “wet” signatures on paper documents.
Information created, received, and maintained as evidence or as an asset by an organization or person, in pursuit of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.
A record is anything that contains information that needs to be kept as evidence of a decision or action, regardless of medium.
In engineering work, many different types of documents will be generated, many of which will be records that must be retained.
Information system which captures, manages, and provides access to records over time.
A records system can consist of technical elements such as software, which may be designed specifically for managing records or for some other business purpose, and non-technical elements including policy, procedures, people, and other agents and assigned responsibilities.
California enacted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (“CUETA”), effective January 1, 2000, which recognizes the validity of electronic signatures. Generally, CUETA provides that an agreement cannot be denied its legal effect solely because it is in electronic form. An electronic signature is an electronic sound, symbol or process attached to or logically associated with an electronic record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the electronic record.
At a high level, for an electronic signature to be recognized as valid, CUETA requires a few things. First, the parties must have intended and agreed to conduct the transaction electronically. “Whether the parties agree to conduct a transaction by electronic means is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances, including the parties’ conduct.” In addition, an electronic signature must be attributable to the signatory. CUETA provides that an electronic record or electronic signature is attributable to a person if it was the act of the person. Cal Civ. Code S. 163.9. The act of “signing” can be shown in any manner, including a showing of the efficacy of any security procedure applied to determine the person to which the electronic record or electronic signature was attributable. In other words, you can show that the act of signing was performed by a specified individual by demonstrating that the individual signing the document has a secured account with the electronic signature service. Courts have established that evidence of use of a unique, secure username and password may adequately authenticate a signature when that signature is a typed name inputted by the user. The use of a checkbox to show acknowledgment and agreement with a specific policy document has also been found sufficient where a unique, secure username and password was used to access the website containing the policy document. Similarly, the mere act of inputting a username and password has been found sufficient to constitute an electronic signature. It should be noted that the certain instruments or documents are specifically excluded, so be sure to check in advance.