A Paramount Duty
It is the duty of every notary public to ensure that he or she does not discriminate based on religious, cultural or gender affiliations against individuals requesting services. However, sticking to this rule can be difficult when someone is wearing a facial covering. This could be the case for women who wear facial coverings in line with their religious beliefs. However, it could also become problematic these days as increasing numbers of people are wearing face masks for the sake of their health. With so many states and municipalities requiring the wearing of face masks, it can be difficult to know how to comply with an individual’s belief and with the current rules while still doing your job correctly.
Follow the Letter of the Law
Your primary job is to ensure that you are always following the letter of the law of your state while also refusing to discriminate against any individual requesting your services. It is vital that you know and understand what the current law is in your municipality because many laws are frequently changing. In addition, you must always respond cautiously in these situations to ensure that you respect the wishes of those seeking your services.
As a notary public, your priority is ensuring that the person signing something in front of you is who they say they are. The best practice has and always will be to check identification to visualize the individual’s picture ID, which is most frequently a driver’s license. The driver’s license photograph must match up exactly with the person in front of you, and this will usually require you to see the individual’s entire face. Some people may not realize that this is the law. In these cases, explaining that the law requires you to positively identify them will put them at ease in the situation.For those who are still uncomfortable with unmasking or showing you their whole face, can be problematic. One could suggest visiting another notary public, such as one who is personally familiar to them. If the reason is health related, ensuring that all COVID – 19 protocols are strictly observed.
In some cases, a photo ID depicts a person wearing a facial covering, which may be the case because of some people’s religious beliefs. In a case such as this, you must still feel completely confident that the person in front of you is the same person represented in the photograph. If you ever feel unsure about this or are uncomfortable with this type of interaction, you can explain to your client that you cannot complete the notarization because you do not feel that you can positively identify the individual. This may make the client unhappy.
To protect yourself and your practice, you should practice thorough documentation for every client interaction you have. Write in detail about what happened and what was said. If the incident ever comes up at a later date, your documentation can help you remember what happened and can protect you from legal woes.
Finally, you should check with your state to learn about specific laws that could apply to you. Your state may already have laws in place that apply to individuals with covered faces who wish to have something notarized.
Experience Best Practices with BNN Services
Since 2008, BNN Services has been trusted by title agencies, mortgage lenders, servicers, and consumers to perform loan and document signings in multiple languages across the country.
Unlike other signing services, BNN Services “touches” each file 8 or 9 times to ensure the process moves forward free of delays. That’s why we’ve completed over 250,000 signings in all 51 jurisdictions and maintained a closing ratio of 96 percent.
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