Electronic Signature on Disc Form

Dear HR Pros-

 Our company is seeking to basically make electronic the disciplinary forms used to document to the company and associate, infractions against policy, etc.  Part of what was proposed is allowing the associate to login and acknowledge the receipt of the form after the discussion with the Superviosr.  Essentially using this method as an electronic signature thus eliminating the paper requirement.  Note that if comes the day that the documents must be produced on paper, this will be able to be done.

My question lies in couple of areas--first and foremost, do you consider this secure?  Any possible flaws that I may be overlooking?  Electronic signatures are recognized by most Federal agencies but will it hold the same merit on forms of less significance?  Your advice is much appreciated.


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'm definitely not an expert in this area. First, I think that you might want to discuss this with the company's employment lawyer to see how he or she feels about these documents as evidence in court. I think there are rules under federal law about what is and isn't an electronic signature. Second, what if the employee doesn't log on and acknowledge receipt after the discussion. Generally, when an employee refuses to sign we have the supervisor note this on the form along with any other documentation of the conversation.

    I'd be interested in what others experiences are with paperless HR documentation too.

  • I agree that talking to a an attorney is a good option.  Here are a couple things for you to consider outside of the legal requirement (other than the good question that BarbieW brought up):

    1. Who will have access to retreive and see this document?  One person or more? HR, supervisors, corporate attorneys?
    2. Where will it be stored (on company network or on one computer)?
    3. What are the backup procedures necessary to make sure that this information is kept and not lost?  One of the things about electronic documents and signatures is that with a click of a button all of this can get wiped out.  Depending on the network and the level at which it was deleted (user versus network admin) you may or may not be able to retreive the data.
  • IT HR and Barbie made some very valid points.  For some reason, this is sending a flag off for me.  I would seek employment law counsel in your area also.  I think it also depends on how controlled your electronic procedure would be and how well you could prove that the document could not be changed after the signature. At a disciplinary meeting, you already will have a disgruntled employee.   I also thought about what happens if they refuse to "sign" the acknowledgement? What happens if they disagree with it? 

    I am all for electronic signatures on things like W-4s, benefit enrollment forms, etc.  But in this case, like I said, my radar is going off. I would have to think long and hard before implementing it.

  • I concur with HRforME.  For disciplinary matters, I'd prefer a pen-and-ink signature.


    I also think this could lead to some pretty tacky situations like a supervisor going off on a subordinate and then telling the subordinate to go back to their desk and electronically sign their reprimand.  Discipline should be more personally supervised from start to finish.

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