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: October 16

MES Begins: Sept. 10

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:

How to Say It: Sept. 23

Managing Change: November 19

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

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Up To and Including Termination of Employment: October 21

If you want to hone your leadership skills… add to your core competencies…and keep filling your talent bucket – but don't have time for a live training seminar? Check out and log on to TPO's 2014 Webinar Leadership Skills Series!

Dates of Upcoming Webinars:

Leadership Essentials - Style & Vision: October 8

Leadership Essentials - Empowerment: Nov. 12

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:  October 7, December 11

Spanish Language Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: 
October 14


1. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - California & Federal
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

2. CONVICTIONS - If An Applicant Discloses a Conviction
      by Robert Russell, SPHR, TPO Pricipal

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Sick Time...Requirements and Options
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA TPO


Califonia and Federal HR Legislation

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

If bills do not pass the floor by August 31, they will be stalled for the year and cannot be considered by the Governor to become law. With hundreds of items both the Senate and the Assembly have to consider, here are those most closely impacting employment:

Still Moving toward becoming law:

Paid Sick Leave - Assembly Bill (AB 1522) if passed would require that California employees who have worked at least 7 days to begin  to accrued sick days at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees could take the accrued time after 90 days of employment and any unused sick leave accrued in the preceding year could be carried over to the next year. Location: Senate Floor

Liens Against Employers - Assembly Bill (AB 2416) if passed would allow an employee a wage lien upon real and personal property of an employer, or a property owner for unpaid wages and other  compensation owed the employee, and certain other penalties, interest, and costs.                     Location: Senate Floor

Arbitration Agreements - Assembly Bill (AB 2617) if passed would limit the enforcement of arbitration agreements. Location: Senate Floor

Sexual Harassment - Assembly Bill (AB 2053) if passed would add “abusive treatment” to required sexual harassment (AB 1825) training.                  Location: Senate Floor

Stalled – cannot become law this year:

Minimum Wage - Senate Bill (SB 935) if passed would increase the CA minimum wage to $13 by 2017 and then increase thereafter according to the Consumer Price Index.

Contractor Liability - Assembly Bill (AB 1897) if passed would expand liability for contractors’ wage and hour violations.            


Fair Employment Opportunity Act (H.R. 3972 and S. 1972) If passed, would prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants based on their unemployment status.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (S. 815) If passed, would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Restoring Overtime Pay for Working Americans Act (S. 2486) If passed, would amend the salary thresholds for executive, administrative, and professional employees over a three-year period from the weekly compensation floor of $455 per week to $1,090 per week; thereafter, the salary thresholds would be indexed to inflation. The measure would also increase from $100,000 to $125,000 the minimum annual salary level that would exempt highly-compensated employees from overtime eligibility. Finally, the bill would require that an employee not spend more than 50% of his or her weekly work hours performing duties that are not covered by such exemptions.

Interested in reading more about the bills and process?

Federal legislation:

California legislation:


These Executive Orders are not laws passed by the legislative process that impact private employers, rather, they are orders directly from the President and impact Federal Contractors. A question is if these requirements pave the road for similar legislation in the future that would apply to private employers.

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If an applicant discloses a conviction...Proceed with caution before denying employment!

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

The use of arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when it is not relevant for the job, because it can limit the employment opportunities of applicants or workers based on their race or ethnicity.

Just ask Pepsi Beverages (Pepsi).They agreed to pay $3.13 million and provide job offers and training to resolve a charge of race discrimination filed in the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Based on the investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the criminal background check policy formerly used by Pepsi discriminated against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

Also take a look at the “Ban the Box” movement by unions, civil rights groups and advocates for ex-offenders already energized by recent federal warnings that using criminal background checks to screen initial applications is discriminatory.

Ban the Box is aimed at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record. Their stated mission is to:

  • Open up opportunities for people with past convictions in our workplace;
  • Welcome people back to our community after their release from jail or prison;
  • Institute fair hiring practices concerning past convictions, and;
  • Eliminate any restrictions on membership, volunteer or Board participation that may exclude people with arrest or conviction history

San Francisco’s Ban the Box ordinance — which bars most private employers, publicly funded housing providers and city contractors from asking about a person’s criminal history on a job application — took effect this past Aug. 13.  California’s “ban the box” became effective July 1, 2014. AB 218 bars public sector employers from asking about criminal records on employment applications (with certain exceptions for law enforcement and others requiring a criminal background check by law). 

When employers contemplate instituting a background check policy, the EEOC recommends that they:

  • take into consideration the nature and gravity of the offense;
  • the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and;
  • the nature of the job sought in order to be sure that the exclusion is important for the particular position. 

As always, contact us if we can help with ensuring your Application for Employment and pre-employment practices conform with the dynamic rules and considerations pertaining to criminal background information.

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Sick Time...Requirements and Options!

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

Sick Time is not required to be provided, however most employers provide it as a stand-alone policy or part of Paid Time Off (PTO) in order to be considerate of their workforce and to be competitive in the job market. .

Where Sick Time (or PTO) is offered, the CA “Kin Care” law does require up to one-half of the time be allowed for the employee to care for their ill/injured "kin" (child, parent, spouse, domestic partner). However, most companies do not actually track what time is for the employee’s use versus “kin,” because most employers:

  • Don’t have the desire and/or mechanism to track the reason, and/or
  • Don’t want to put employees in the situation where the employee fabricates their own injury/illness because they have used more than half their time for a family member.



Options for the Employer (not legal requirements)

  • Employers usually allow the accumulation of 3-5 days of sick time per year. Note, this is not "accrual". Unlike vacation, does not legally accrue and does NOT need to be paid upon separation of employment.
  • You can "delete the years accumulation" at the end of the year and have the employee start at zero again. However, most companies allow employees to accumulate to a max and then let it sit at the max, which is helpful for two reasons: 1) if an employee is sick at the beginning of the year they will have some time in their account to use, and, 2) employees are less likely to pretend being sick to use their time before it is depleted.
  • TPO recommends you require that all employees bring in a return to work authorization from their healthcare provider when they are absent for more than 3-5 days due to a illness/injury. You need to decide the duration (3, 4 or 5 days) and implement the policy across-the-board.
  • Most companies will allow sick time to be used for preventative healthcare appointments.
  • The employer decides the minimum duration of use. For non-exempt it can be down to the minute. For exempts, it usually makes sense for full-days or sometimes half-days (the reality is that many employees in exempt positions will work intermittently even when home sick.)

If you would like to discuss this issue further, please give your TPO Representative a call!

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