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: May 1 & 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:

FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance: March 12

Workers Compensation Administration: May 7

Excelling as a Manager or Supervisor: August 22

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: March 20

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: March 28, June 19, & August 27


Record-Breaking Attendance at the
TPO/Littler Employment Law and Leadership Conference

With over 250 participants, the all-day TPO/Littler Conference on 1/30/13 was another resounding success! The purpose of this article is to take 8 HOURS of in-depth information and boil it down here to 6 sections of critical "take-aways"!

      by Eric Bellafronto, Esq. and Marlene Muraco, Esq.

      President/CEO California Chamber of Commerce

      Labor, Employment & Benefits
      by Richard Leasia, Esq. of Littler

      Getting the Specific Answers You Need!
      by Marlene Muraco, Esq. of Littler & Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

      Are you Prepared?
      by Alan Krepack, Ph.D. of LSA Global

      How to "HireRight" the First Time
      by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA of TPO

Here is a sampling of the great feedback we received on the scores of Program Evaluations:

"The BEST seminar I have attended in 15 years!"
"Great conference as always!"
"Great time spent with talented people."
"Excellent, helpful, thank you!"
"I loved the workers comp & FMLA leaves explanations
by Melissa and Marlene.
"We LOVE you guys :0)!"
"Very good conference, excellent presenters, thank you!"
"I learned a lot and enjoyed the speakers!"



by Marlene Muraco, Esq. and Eric Bellafronto, Esq.

Marlene and Eric took the group through the latest
employment law twists and turns, bringing participants up to speed on the regulatory front as well as trends to watch for in the future.

Their program was a thought-provoking overview and analysis of the most critical employment and labor law issues confronting employers.

2013 Employment Law Update Recap:

NEW CA PREGNANCY DISABILITY LEAVE REGULATIONS – Late breaking changes effective 12/31/12 more broadly define "disabled by pregnancy" and virtually require unconditional duty to provide accommodation to pregnant employees where medically "advisable". The term "4months" has been clarified to mean 693 hours or 17 and one third weeks. Employers must affirmatively notify employees about comparable positions that become available. Health insurance premiums must continue to be paid for the duration of the PDL (up to 4 months / 17 and one third weeks) IN ADDITION to the duration of the CFRA to bond (up to 12 weeks), for a total of 29 and one-third weeks.

NEW CA  DISABILITY REGULATIONS – The definition of mental and physical disability has been expanded. Standards for brining assistive animals in to the workplace have been established. It is now required that disabled employees who cannot be accommodated in their current position be given "preferential consideration of reassignment to a vacant position" over other applicants and existing employees.

PERSONNEL FILE INSPECTION (AMENDED LABOR CODE §1198.5) - Expands employer requirements to include: 1) must now provide a copy of the entire contents of file if asked, 2) must now provide a form for employees to request to review/copy (TPO has developed one we will provide free of charge), 3) the employer can "redact" (remove or blacken-out) names of non-supervisory employees from the files, 4) former employees have the same rights as current employees, 5) employees can designate a representative if in writing, and 6). employers have 30 days to provide the copy and/or viewing.

FIXED SALARIES (AMENDED LABOR CODE §515) - Clarifies that payment of a fixed salary to a non-exempt employee is payment only for the employee's regular NON-overtime hours and cannot be modified by private agreement.

WRITTEN COMMISION CONTRACTS (LABOR CODE §2751) – Written commission contracts are required as of 1/1/13 and must specify methods of computing and paying commissions. A signed copy must be retained for 4 years. It does not apply to specified bonus, profit-sharing and incentive plans (unless it is based on a percentage of sales, which would be a commission plan).

SOCIAL MEDIA (LABOR CODE §980) – Prohibits an employer from requiring/requesting an employee/applicant to disclose personal social media usernames/passwords or access their personal social media in the employer's presence. If the employer is involved in litigation the law does not restrict an employer's ability to obtain a former employee's social media content or log-in credentials; not applicable to current employees with whom they may be in litigation.

WORKPLACE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT (FEHA AMENDMENTS GOV'T CODE §§12926, 12940) – These amendments cover religious garb, head/face covering, jewelry, artifacts, and other items related to observance of religious creed. Employers must show "undue hardship" to deny accommodations.

DISCRIMINATION FOR BREASTFEEDING (FEHA AMENDMENTS GOV'T CODE §12926(q)) – Amends the FEHA term "sex" to also include "breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding."

Significant Court Cases Recap:

BRINKER v. SUPERIOR COURT– Employers must "provide" (to make available) a 30-minute meal period where the employee is relieved of all duties. Employers may not pressure, encourage or create incentives for employees to skip meal periods. The first meal period must start before an employee works more than 5 hours (before working 5:01). If meals are provided in this way, employees are not owed an extra hour of pay if the employee chooses to not to avail themselves of the "provided" meal period.

SEE'S CANDY SHOPS v. SUPERIOR COURT– CA permits rounding of time in/out, providing the practice does not favor the employer.

Other Developments:

THE FEDERAL NLRB – The NLRB has increased focus on non-union employers with an increased focus on arbitration agreements, at-will disclaimers, investigations, off-duty employee access, social media, employee courtesy and termination. Refrain from terminating employees for "concerted activity."

REASONABLE FACTORS OTHER THAN AGE (RFOA) – Any employment practice that adversely affects individuals on the basis of older age is discriminatory unless the practice is justified by a reasonable factor other than age.

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President/CEO California Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Zaremberg provided his unique observations and insights on how our legislators impacted CA employers and employment for 2013.

Allan acknowledged employer challenges and while he shared many positive things that have impacted employers, he also outlined what he described as significant problems for employers.

The CA Chamber of Commerce:

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Labor, Employment & Benefits by Richard Leasia, Esq. of Littler

Richard presented a powerful overview of the impact of the 2012 elections. In addition to his observations about the post-election changes in the composition of the Senate and House on a national level, he also reviewed changes in the California Assembly, and how those changes impact the political environment for the next four years (e.g., compromise or gridlock).

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was another detailed topic, particularly in terms of what it means to employers in terms of timelines, employer requirements, penalties, etc. Richard also provided material facts and his thoughts on labor law developments at the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) and DOL (Department of Labor), and the general health of labor unions today from a national and state perspective. He also provided an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) forecast that included the topics of employer screening (criminal and credit history, unemployment status), and what employers might expect (systemic litigation) prior to the end of November 2012. It was interesting to hear that the DOL "is back in the enforcement business" and how it will be targeting employee misclassification and independent contractor misclassifications.

Predictions on what to expect from the OFCCP (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs) included finalization of proposed regulations on increasing compliance costs, a hardline approach to compliance, deference to field personnel, and the demand for information that may not be relevant to compliance. Richard also brought employers up to date on immigration reform both in terms of 113th Congress long-term and current events of the few days just prior to the Conference (publicity on a guest worker program, a stronger employment verification system, etc.). Closing the presentation with thoughts on the "fiscal cliff" and future appointees to the Supreme Court, Richard left the audience with much to ponder and anticipate.

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Getting the Specific Answers You Need!

By Marlene Muraco, Esq. of Littler & Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

Human Resources is a delicate balance of both employment regulations (risk management) and HR best practices (leadership and employee relations implications). Melissa and Marlene made a complementing pair to provide that balanced perspective by taking real questions from the audience and answering from BOTH the legal and the leadership perspective to provide the most effective solutions.       


Samples of
Conference Attendees’
ACTUAL HR Questions
from two Perspectives

Marlene Muraco
HR Legal

Melissa Irwin
HR Leadership

Can we require Salaried, Exempt employees to use PTO/Vacation/Sick in less than full-day increments?

Yes, that is an allowable practice. Make sure you have a written policy indicating in what amount (half-day, hours, etc.) the time must be used and then apply it evenly.

Organizations may find that requirement to have a negative employee-relations impact (particularly where exempt employees work significant amounts of time). Consider the impact prior to implementing.

At the end of a leave of absence, if the employee does not return, can we send a termination letter?

 While written policies should indicate that failure to return indicates a voluntary separation, first ensure that there is no further legal obligation for extended leave and/or reasonable accommodation considerations.

 Ensure employees understand the parameters of their leave, including in understandable terms requirements regarding healthcare provider certifications, return to work dates and what to do if an extension is requested.

Up to 7 months of continued health insurance premiums during a pregnancy leave that is also FMLA/CFRA eligible? Did I hear that right?

Yes you did! CA’s Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is separate from her right to take a CA Family Rights Act (CFRA) bonding leave. Therefore the maximum would be up to 4 months of PDL plus up to 12 weeks to bond under CFRA.

Interacting leaves are confusing for HR professionals, let alone employees! Help employees understand how much time they can request, what monetary payments they will receive, and how long insurance premiums will be paid.


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Are you Prepared?

Alan Krepack, Ph.D., President of LSA Global

Alan Krepack presented an overview of key steps to initiate and guide organizational change from both a company-wide and personal perspective. Alan discussed the pervasiveness of change today, and that successful organizations have leaders who are effective change guides, and employees who are resilient. He then shared many processes and tools for building these skills.

Conference participants were invited to use their own specific changes on some of the key change methods and approaches Alan shared. One tool is the Transition Curve (developed by Jaffe and Scott at Changeworks, now merged with LSA Global). As leaders, Krepack explained, we need to flex our approach depending on the phase of change. During denial employees need information to understand the need for change; during resistance leaders need to listen and provide feedback; during exploration leaders should facilitate their employee's discovery process; and during commitment employees should be rewarded.

Conference goers who attended this session came away with great information and all rated the Topic Relevance and Alan's Presentation & Delivery high! For more information or to contact Alan: Email Alan

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How to "HireRight" the First Time

by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA of TPO

Chris presented a lively and interactive session helping conference goers dial in on a successful approach to hiring – how to be a "Talent Magnet"! Chris took session participants through a structured system to identify, recruit, select and retain the best fit talent to avoid costly turnover.

Using TPO's HireRight Systemssm approach, and her years of experience and credentials as a skilled recruiter, her tips and recommendations included:

Chris received rave reviews for this program and her fun and engaging presentation style! One attendee said, "going to Chris' session made the whole day worthwhile"! Feel free to contact Email Chris to discuss your recruitment and training needs!

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Gary Tiscornia,Executive Director

The SPCA for Monterey County has worked with TPO for more than fifteen years and is a current member. How do you feel TPO contributes to the SPCA's success?

"The SPCA for Monterey County is the leader in animal protection, rescue, and welfare. Helping animals requires that we help the people of our community understand and appreciate the many important relationships that exist between animals and people. Our success depends on a bright, articulate, and well trained staff. TPO's Management Excellence Series is a vital resource that helps us provide exceptional training for our managers. They return from TPO trainings with the confidence and skills necessary for effective team leadership. These new skills materially improve our ability reach the organizational milestones on the road to achieving our mission."

What is the SPCA for Monterey County?
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for Monterey County is your nonprofit, independent, donor-supported humane society that has served the animals and people of Monterey County since 1905. The SPCA is a vital part of the fabric of our community, providing services for pets, wildlife, children, and adults. The SPCA shelters homeless, neglected and abused pets and livestock and provides humane education, pet meals for the elderly, and countless other services to the community. It is the organization you call to investigate animal cruelty, rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife, educate about humane treatment of pets, and aid domestic animals in distress. The SPCA reaches into the community to share with young people, foster children, at-risk youth, and adults the therapeutic benefits of the human animal bond and to teach them compassion and respect for all animals. The SPCA is not a chapter or division of any other organization. Everything the SPCA does for people and pets is made possible through the generosity of its donors.

The SPCA is the heart of animal rescue in Monterey County since 1905. Our doors are open to all animals in need. Learn more about the SPCA at or

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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!

Post Ranch Inn Big Sur

Oasis Charter Public School

Damon Anderson & Associates Physical Therapy

California Society of Anesthesiologists

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