CA EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIALS (CEE) is a 6 module training series of employment essentials focusing on regulatory compliance and HR best practices. Hiring to Separation: What Management and HR MUST KNOW!

MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE SERIES (MES) is an 8 module training series focusing on practical leadership and communication skills to help managers DEVELOP OR REFINE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS AS LEADERS!

Dates of Upcoming Series:

CEE Begins: May 15, August 1 & October 10

MES Begins: September 4

TPO's popular prescheduled three-hour (9am - noon) workshops are presented on a wide range of important regulatory and leadership topics. Many are available to attend via webinar.

Dates of Upcoming Workshops:

Workers Compensation Administration: May 7

Excelling as a Manager or Supervisor: August 22

Team Comunication: November 6

TPO brings you periodic briefings presented by knowledgeable subject matter experts on a variety of timely employment topics.

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Health Care Reform Update: May 23

Auditing Your HR Function: June 13

TPO's H&D prevention training goes above and beyond to address all forms of harassment and discrimination (age, race, religion, disability, etc.) that today's managers must be prepared to prevent and address.

Dates of Upcoming H & D:

Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: June 19, August 27 & October 22


      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

      by Robert Russell, SPHR-CA, TPO

3. HR Q & A
    HOW DO I "Hire Right" RIGHT NOW?

      by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA, TPO


      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO



by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

Want More Details?
Click on each bill number to be directed to a tracking website. From there you can read the actual text of the bill!


Additional Protected Classification for Caregivers (SB 404) – Would expand the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to include a protected classification for any person who is, perceived, or associated with an individual that provides "medical or supervisory" care to a family member. Would be applicable to employers with 5 or more employees.

Indexing Minimum Wage Increases (AB 10) — Would raise the minimum wage $1.25 over the next three years and thereafter index the minimum wage based on inflation.

Worker's Compensation Reform Changes (SB 626) — Would modify many of the employer cost-saving provisions approved in last year's workers' compensation reform package.

"Paid Family Leave Insurance" Protection (SB 761) — Would provide that it is unlawful for an employer or agent of an employer to discharge or in any other manner to discriminate against an individual because he or she has applied for, used, or indicated an intent to apply for or use, PFL insurance benefits. EDD's current Paid Family Leave (PFL) Insurance program provides wage replacement insurance monies for employees who are provided leaves of absence.

Additional Protected Classification (SB 400) — Would create a protected classification for employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and further require employers to accommodate such individuals.

Unemployment Insurance (AB 152) — Would divert employer paid Unemployment Insurance (UI) taxes to a new program, to provide UI benefits to unemployed individuals seeking to become self employed.



The States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act (H.R. 689) – Would reclassify marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to make its use legal when there is an acceptable medical use, and prohibit the CSA from restricting doctors from prescribing marijuana, patients from using it, pharmacies from dispensing it, and growers from growing it in states with medical marijuana laws.

The Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) – Would allow private sector employers to offer their employees compensatory time off in lieu of overtime. This "comp time" option has long been available to public sector employees, and has proven to be very popular.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act (S. 460; H.R. 1010) – Would increase the federal hourly rate from $7.25 to $10.10 in $.95 increments over a three-year period. After that time, the minimum wage would be tied to any cost of living adjustments.

The Military Family Leave Act of 2013 (H.R. 1333) – Would entitle eligible employees to take up to two workweeks of leave in any 12-month period if the uniformed service family member: (a) is notified of an impending call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation; or (b) is deployed in connection with a contingency operation. These provisions would apply to both full and part-time employees in any size company.

The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1286) – Would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours (7 days) annually. Employees could take this leave to attend to their own or a family member's illness, or use the paid time off for preventative care such as medical appointments. In addition, the bill provides leave for employees who are the victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. Employers with 15 or more employees would be covered by the law.

The Equal Employment for All Act (H.R. 645) – Would prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of hiring or making adverse employment decisions. This prohibition would apply even if the employee or applicant consents or otherwise authorizes the employer's procurement of the consumer credit report for employment purposes. The bill would make exceptions if the job involved national security, FDIC clearance, a supervisory, managerial, professional or executive position at a financial institution; or where a credit check is otherwise required by law.

The Bankruptcy Nondiscrimination Enhancement Act (H.R. 646) – Would prohibit any consideration of an individual's financial status for employment purposes.

Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act of 2013 (H.R. 675) – Would amend the shared responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act by requiring large employers to provide health insurance to their part-time as well as full-time employees or pay a penalty.

The Immigration Innovation Act ("I-Squared Act") (S. 169) – Would expand the H-1B visa program—an employment-based temporary guest worker program for foreign workers with at least college degree; and exempt foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields from annual statutory limits on employment-based permanent immigrant visas (also known as "green cards").

The Labor Relations First Contract Negotiations Act (H.R. 169) – Would require employers and union representatives to submit to mediation and ultimately binding arbitration if they fail to agree on the terms of a first contract.


Let your voice be heard on these and other legislative issues!
You can write letters, send e-mails and ensure your opinions get to your legislators!


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by Robert Russell, SPHR, TPO, Principal Lic: PI-25638

Unfortunately, at some point in time most employers encounter situations at work that call for a structured investigation process. Some circumstances are more straightforward, such as investigating workplace accidents and/or injuries where facts are relatively easy to assemble, evaluate and confirm.

Other times the investigation takes place in response to claims such as harassment, discrimination, unsafe working conditions. CA employers have an affirmative obligation to conduct timely, objective investigations into such matters to address, resolve and prevent future occurrences.

As Licensed Private Investigators, TPO has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations. In our experience, there are recommended steps which are appropriate for internal managers to administer – and others we recommend outsourcing to professional specialists.

If you have reason to believe harassing and/or discriminating conduct is taking place, it is best to do some initial fact finding to evaluate whether there are circumstances that rise to the level of unlawful harassment or discrimination. For instance, if an employee comes to you to express concerns about feeling harassed at work there are some initial steps we suggest you take right away. We generally recommend avoiding the use of the terms like 'investigation, harassment and discrimination" at this point and focus on information/fact gathering to determine next appropriate steps.

  1.  Meet with the concerned employee right away.
  2.  Confirm that you are aware of his/her concerns– and that the company takes this very seriously so you want to learn more.
  3.  Assure the employee that no retaliation will occur because of what they tell you and encourage them to be honest and
          provide complete information.
  4.  Ask the following questions:

    • Who did you express your complaint/concerns to? (When/how)
    • Who is/are the person/people involved? What employment relationship do/did they have/had with you?
    • What specifically happened to lead you to complain?
    • When, where, what, why did that bother you?
    • How did you react? Did they ask you to stop? What was the result?
    • Did anyone else see or hear this happen? (Names/dates/location(s))
    • Did they mention this to any coworkers and/or others? Who?
    • Has this happened to others to your knowledge?
    • What do you consider to be an appropriate resolution to the situation?
  5. Thank him/her for the information and let him/her know that as a next step you will look into it and get back to them as soon
         as possible.
  6. Tell him/her, in the meantime, not to discuss this with anyone but you, and if he/she has anything else to add, to contact you
         right away.

Step back and evaluate what you heard. Then seek the counsel of a qualified expert to plan next steps. Those can range from doubling back to resolve communications/ relationship issues that do not rise to a level of unlawful activities – up to and including a formal investigation performed by external experts under the umbrella of your employment law experts.

For more information about Workplace Investigations, Risk Management and Security, contact TPO!

Next Issue: Fraud in the Workplace – issues, investigation, response.

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HOW DO I "Hire Right" RIGHT NOW?

by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA of TPO

In the last few months, TPO has experienced an increase in requests for recruitment assistance. Across the board, it appears that TPO members and clients are ramping up their recruitment efforts and adding to their team. From Agriculture, to Non-Profits, to Education, organizations are once again hanging out the "NOW HIRING" signs.

However, many companies are still struggling with how to hire "right." How do you know you have the right-matched candidate that wants your job, not just any job? Today's candidate is very savvy; they know how to answer the interview questions the way they should answer them, and not necessarily give you the honest answer. So, how do you know you're about to make an offer to the ideal candidate and not just the best actor?

Get the job description and candidate profile right!
Really understand what the actual "requirements" are for the position. Know what skills, knowledge and abilities the ideal candidate must have to be successful in the role you trying to fill. Understand the "soft skills" that fit into the department. These are personality traits, style characteristics, values and beliefs. Ensure the candidate shares the organization's mission and vision and "gets" what the company exists for, its purpose.

Make sure you are targeting the appropriate audience.
Once you have a solid job description and an ideal candidate profile, identify where these candidates are and how to reach them. You want to post ads where these candidates will look, use the right "media" to get your hiring message out, and consider networking with related groups and organizations to find those passive candidates already gainfully employed in a similar role. Don't forget to ask for referrals from current team members. Employees generally won't refer someone who isn't going to "fit", since it is their reputation on the line. Explore an Employee Referral Program to enlist their assistance.

Ask the right questions!
The use of well-crafted behavioral based interview questions is helpful in finding a good match for the position. Think about what behaviors, skills, traits, etc. the "ideal" candidate should possess in your company's environment and build questions around them. An inside sales person will likely need a different skill set than an outside sales person. Maybe the organization is a start up as opposed to a non-profit or government agency. There are a lot of differences between these work environments, so it is essential to develop specific position and environment-based questions.

Use real life work assessments in the selection process.
If the position requires an incumbent to have in depth knowledge of employment regulations, quiz candidates about them. If the position requires a bilingual employee, ask candidates to write a memo addressing a certain issue in both English and Spanish. Ensure that these assessments/assignments are job related.

Make sure that the organization is presented in a positive light.
Be professional and consistent in your advertising, acknowledgements and communications with everyone in the recruiting process. By simply acknowledging that the company received a resume, can place the company in good favor with candidates (who might not be your next hire but could be a future customer). Remember that anytime you are hiring it is an opportunity to promote your business and in some cases, obtain new customers. Tell your story in the recruitment ad. Let readers know why your organization is a great place to work. Talk about team orientation, supporting the community, social responsibility, and anything else that differentiates you in the marketplace.

Verify, verify, verify!
Ensure that all "qualified applicants" complete legally compliant Employment Applications and appropriate identification documents. TPO's HR Administration Kit outlines this process and provides fully compliant documents ready for use Also be sure that appropriate background investigations are completed either post-offer, pre-employment, or as a contingency to receiving an offer letter. At a minimum, references and education should be verified. A criminal background check completed by a qualified investigator is strongly recommended. Companies that have failed to conduct a proper background investigation have been sued for negligent hiring. TPO provides thorough VERIFICATION and BACKGROUND CHECKS.

Hiring and selection is one of six key and important Human Resource and Management topics covered in TPO's California Employment Essentials (CEE) training. The next CEE training session begins May 15th, 2013.

If you would like TPO to assist you with all or any of your recruitment and staffing duties, we have proven and effective systems in place that save you time, money and help you avoid the risk of a bad hire. Contact us today to learn how to HireRight!

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by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

"Termination Meetings" …how to calculate duration paid on the day of the meeting! Once you have made the decision to terminate employment, the next question is how much time to pay for the day of the separation meeting so that the correct final pay can be given to the employee at the separation meeting. Three common examples:

  1. Employment Separation Meeting at the End of the Work Shift:
         Pay for all hours worked in the day. It is best to budget plenty of time to cover the length of
         the separation meeting so that additional wages (including overtime) are not incurred.

  2. Employment Separation Meeting at the Beginning

       (or before midpoint) of a Scheduled Work Shift:
        Employees who report to scheduled work and are given less than their usual or scheduled day's shift normally are entitled to reporting time pay equal to half of their usual or scheduled day's shift, with a minimum of two hours and a maximum of four hours required. Paying the entire day's wages can be a gesture of goodwill and appropriate in some situations.

  3. Employment Separation Meeting on a Day Not Scheduled to Work:
         If an employee is not scheduled to work on a given day but is asked to come in for a meeting (at which s/he is then
         terminated), the reporting time pay requirements are different than for those on a scheduled day of work. The California
         Court of Appeal case, Price v. Starbucks, clarified that where an employee does not report to work with the expectation of
         working a scheduled shift, but rather is scheduled to attend a meeting for an unspecified number of hours, the employee is
         owed only two hours pay based on the minimum reporting time pay requirement.

The above applies to hourly, non-exempt employees. For salaried, exempt employees it is based on days worked in the final pay period, not hours. Take the annual salary, divide by 52 to get the weekly salary, divide by 5 to get the daily salary (by 6 if the normal workweek worked is 6 days), and finally multiply by the number of days worked in partial pay period.

Resignations: When it is the employee who resigns, the final pay must be available: If more than 72 hours was given: at the time of separation. If less than 72 hours was given: Within 72 hours of such notice.

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Luis Alvarez, President

"Our core business is managing the information technology systems of small and mid-sized businesses throughout California, so we understand the importance of trust in outsourcing relationships. You're paying someone else to do one of the most fundamental functions in your company; you have to trust that they are going to do it as well or better than you could. In our case, our clients trust us with their IT; in our case, we trust TPO with our people. They help us make sure we do the right thing for our most precious asset, our employees. We've been working with TPO for over a decade and they've never let us down. They helped us create our first employee handbook, our original job descriptions and gave us advice about how to manage our team. Since then, they've kept us compliant with all the latest rules and regulations and, most recently, provided us with talent recruitment. They are an important part of our team!"

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New Form I-9 Released

On March 8, 2013, USCIS released a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 with revision date 03/08/13 immediately for all new hires. The revision date is on the lower left of the new form (Rev. 03/08/13).

Employers may continue to use previously valid Forms I-9 (Rev. 08/07/09Y and 02/02/09N) for 60 days until May 7, 2013. After 05/07/13, employers must only use the new Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N. In the cases of re-verification or rehires the new version of the Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13) must be used. For more information, please refer to the Federal Register notice. English and Spanish versions of the new form are available online at

For more information, please call 888-464-4218 or visit I-9 Central online. Here are some of the changes to the I-9:

Employers are required to complete Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.

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We look forward to the opportunity to provide each of you with unlimited phone/email access, reduced consulting and training rates, eCompliance notices, attendance to our Annual Employment Law & Leadership Conference at no additional cost, and priority status when you require TPO support from any of our highly qualified team of nationally certified HR experts! Thank you for joining!

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