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!

LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE SERIES (LES) 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 11, Aug. 10 & Oct. 12

LES Begins: April 6 & Sept. 7

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 7

Excelling as a Manager/Supervisor: April 25 & Sept 5

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

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Auditing the HR Function: March 14

ACA Reporting & Benefit Compliance: April 11

Value of HR: May 16

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 8, August 22, October 3 & December 7



Employment Law and Leadership Conference
To Make a Donation: Click Here

With about 300 participants, the all-day TPO/Saqui Employment Law & Leadership Conference on 1/19/17 was another resounding success! The purpose of this article is to take 8 HOURS of in-depth information and boil it down to 6 sections of critical "take-aways"!

      by Jennifer Schermerhorn,Esq., The Saqui Law Group &
      by Kevin Cleveland, Esq., The Saqui Law Group 

    How to Free-Up Your Time While Developing Others!

      by Dennis Hungridge, M.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts

3. HR Q&A:
    by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP,
TPO - The HR Experts &
     by Jennifer Schermerhorn,Esq., The Saqui Law Group

    The Big Picture - The Real World - Where You Fit!

      by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts

    Are You Keeping Up?!

      by Kevin Cleveland, Esq., The Saqui Law Group

AND our Special Clinic

6. AFTER OBAMA - A "Now What?" CLINIC:
    ACA Compliance & Health Care Administration!

      by Dave Marshall, President, FLIS Insurance Services

Congratulations to the
Grand Prize Winners

Drawn from the evaluations with all nine stamps marked by our Affiliate Showcase Co-Sponsors:

California Employment Essentials:
Apio Inc.

Leadership Excellence Series:
Martinelli & Company

We thank all of you who took the time to complete your Program Evaluation and provided us with the important input we need to make 2018 even better!

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


"Very well done and informative"

"I always enjoy attending Kathrine's courses, very clear and direct"

"First time attendee, really learned a lot and thought it was perfectly presented"

"Every year I get great notes on things to check on in terms of our policies, postings etc. once I get back to the office. Great to have affirmation on things we're doing "

"Class act conference. Thank you so much"

"Thank you for bringing such a professional conference to our area"

"Fantastic! Great learning experience"

"Presentation by Kathrine was great - especially for someone like me who is beginning a career in HR"



by Jennifer Schermerhorn, Esq., & Kevin Cleveland, Esq.

The Saqui Law Group.









(Effective January 1, 2017 unless noted):


Pay Equity, Race or Ethnicity (SB1063) – Expands CA’s equal pay statute, prohibiting an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work

Pay Equity, Gender Salary History (AB1676) – Prohibits prior salary, by itself, as a justification of any disparity in compensation under the bona fide factor exception to the prohibition on gender pay discrimination.

Itemized Wage Statements (AB2535) – A technical clarification that actual hours worked need not be reported on paystubs for any employee exempt from overtime, whose pay is not determined in any way by hours worked.

Expanded Paid Family Leave (PFL) Insurance (AB908) - Starting 1/1/2018 CA PFL insurance payments will increase to 60% of wages, capped at $1,100 a week (currently the amount is 55% capped at $1,011 a week); includes a new provision that will allow for 70% of wages for earning $20,000 or less annually. As of 1/1/2018, the one-week waiting period will be removed.

Unfair Immigration-Related Practices (SB1001) - It is an unlawful employment practice to 1) request more or different documents than required under federal law to verify that an individual is not an unauthorized immigrant; or 2) refuse to honor documents tendered that on their face reasonably appear to be genuine; or 3) attempt to reinvestigate or re-verify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice.

Background Checks (AB1289) - Requires a Transportation Network Company (TNC) such as Uber, Lyft, SideCar etc. to conduct criminal background checks on drivers, and prohibits a TNC from contracting with a driver who is: 1) currently registered on the DOJ’s National Sex Offender Public Website, 2) convicted of terrorism-related or violent felonies; and/or 3) has been convicted of misdemeanor assault or battery, domestic violence, or DUI within the past 7 years.

Driving Under the Influence (AB2687) – Effective 7/1/18, it will be unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.04% or more when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle; the previous level was 0.08%.

Juvenile Criminal History (AB1843) – Employers cannot ask an applicant for information regarding juvenile convictions or utilize juvenile arrests, detentions, or court dispositions as a factor in employment determinations. Exceptions for health care facilities exist.

  • Note from TPO: To update your Employment Application purchased from TPO, click here – no charge for TPO Members!

New-Hire Notice Requirements  (AB 2337) – Requires that employers provide a written notice to new-hires and employees upon request that provides information on leave rights (for medical treatment or legal proceedings) as a possible victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The Labor Commissioner is charged with providing an appropriate form by 7/1/2017 and employers are not required to comply until the form is available.

Employment Heat Safety (SB1167) – The Division of Occupational Safety and Health must develop heat-related illness and injury standards among workers working in indoor places of employment by January 1, 2019. Current standards only address outdoor heat standards. Effective 1/1/2019.

Single-User Restrooms (AB1732) – Starting 3/1/2017, all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or government agency must be identified as all-gender toilet facilities.

Agricultural Overtime (AB1066) – A gradual removal of the overtime exemption allowed for Ag employers in Wage Order 14. New overtime rules will start in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime by half an hour each year until it reaches the standard eight-hour day by 2022. *Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an additional 3 years to comply with the overtime phase-in. Stay tuned for a revised Wage Order 12 listing the requirements.

Minimum Wage Violation Challenges (AB2899) – Requires employer, before appealing a decision by the Labor Commissioner (LC) relating to a violation, to file a bond —in favor of the unpaid employee—that covers the total amount of any minimum wages, liquidated damages, and overtime compensation owed.  Also provides that the total amount of the bond is to be forfeited to the employee if the employer fails to pay the amounts owed within 10 days from the conclusion of the proceedings.

State Disability Insurance (SB667) – Expands the period between disability periods to 60 days for two periods to be considered separate periods for disability benefits. Waives the seven-day waiting period for an individual who has already served the seven-day waiting period for the same or a related condition within the previous 60 days as of 7/1/2016.

Choice-of-Law Limitations (SB1241) –  Prohibits an employer from requiring an employee who primarily resides and works in California, as a condition of employment, to agree to a provision that would require the employee to adjudicate outside of California a claim arising in California. Makes any provision of a contract that violates these prohibitions voidable, upon request of the employee. Requires a dispute over a voided provision to be adjudicated in California under California law.

Minimum Wage Increases (SB3) – Increases from the current $10.50 per hour to ultimately $15.00 per hour on 1/1/2022 through yearly increases. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply.

26 or more employees 25 or less employees
$11.00/hour – January 1, 2018 2019
$12.00/hour – January 1, 2019 2020
$13.00/hour – January 1, 2020 2021
$14.00/hour – January 1, 2021 2022
$15.00/hour – January 1, 2022 2023


  • A reminder about CA exempt salary thresholds: To meet the exemption from overtime, breaks, meals and other wage and hour provisions, CA employees in Administrative, Executive and Professional exemptions must earn a weekly salary equivalent to at least 2 times the current minimum wage. As of 1/1/2016 at $10.00 per hour, that amounts to $800.00 weekly, $3,466.66 monthly, or $41,600 annually. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply:
$10.50  1/1/2017 $   840.00 weekly, $3,640.00 monthly, $43,680 annually
$11.00  1/1/2018 $   880.00 weekly, $3,813.33 monthly, $45,760 annually
$12.00  1/1/2019 $   960.00 weekly, $4,160.00 monthly, $49,920 annually
$13.00  1/1/2020 $1,040.00 weekly, $4,506.66 monthly, $54,080 annually
$14.00  1/1/2021 $1,120.00 weekly, $4,853.33 monthly, $58,240 annually
$15.00  1/1/2022 $1,200.00 weekly, $5,200 monthly, $62,400 annually
And then annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).


E-Cigarettes and Vaping (SBX2-5) – As of 6/9/2016 the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices that contain nicotine are “smoking” – thus extending existing smoking bans to cover such products. Raises the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, except for active military personnel.


CA November Ballot, Recreational Marijuana Use. Recreational marijuana is now legal for individuals over the age of 21. From an employment standpoint, it will not:

  • restrict the rights/obligations of public/private employers to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace;
  • require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of marijuana in the workplace;
  • affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees; or
  • prevent employers from complying with state or federal law.


State/National Trend Report:



Wages are Rising – From recent years’ piece-rate changes, to CA increased minimum wage, to many city-specific minimum wage amounts outpacing CA; while the new federal administration may push back against federal efforts, we can expect CA efforts to continue.

Concerns about Income Equity – Wage gaps between genders, race/ethnicity and executive pay continue to be a point of contention.

Federal EEOC Strategic Enforcement Plan – A new priority identified is addressing "Complex employment relationships and structures in the 21st century workplace.

Medical Marijuana in the Workplace – Allowing the use of (or impairment  from ) medical marijuana at work is not a requirement of either federal or state “reasonable accommodation” obligations. Employers may continue to choose to test for marijuana.

Federal EEOC Final Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation – While retaliation is unlawful, engaging in EEO activity does not shield an employee from discipline or discharge. Employers may discipline or terminate workers for non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory reasons that would otherwise result in such consequences.

Federal DOJ Rules on Immigration – Proposed rules could make submitting charges and investigating those charges much easier for employees and the DOJ by creating grace periods, lengthening times to file complaints, and broadening what counts as investigation.

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy Requirements New clarifications and rules as of 4/1/2016 including: 1) Clarifications on mandatory harassment training; 2) Provides clearer definitions of gender expression, gender identity, sex stereotype and transgender; 3) Extends national origin protections to undocumented immigrants holding AB60 driver licenses; 4) imposes requirements for conducting discrimination and harassment investigations; 5) requires written anti-discrimination and harassment policies; 6) Complaint mechanism must not require an employee to complain directly to an immediate supervisor.

Federal Overtime Rule – The Department of Labor (DOL) change to exempt salary threshold remains on HOLD. On 11/22/2016, a US District Court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. DOL from implementing the revised FEDERAL salary threshold increase that was to increase to $913 per week ($47,476 annually) beginning 12/1/2016. Still unsure is if the DOL will appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and also unknown is the position of the incoming administration of President Trump. Stay tuned!

Joint Employment – The joint employer test is moving from if they exercised direct and immediate control over the terms and conditions of employment, to “if they share or codetermine”, or even have the potential to indirectly control, those matters.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) The NLRB has been taking increasingly aggressive stances regarding any employer policies which may reduce employees’ right to exercise Section 7 Rights under the National Labor Relations Act, including simple apparently benign rules that prohibit “insubordination or other disrespectful conduct” have come under fire as prohibiting employee complaints because complaints could be seen as a challenge to supervisor authority.

Arbitration Limitations continue, including that the California Supreme Court continues to limit the use of class action waivers, the NLRB finding class action waivers unlawful, Federal Courts limiting the application of class action waivers, and California passing limitations on choise of law and forum. Close contact with qualified labor law attorney on this is strongly recommended.

Election Implications for Employers

Along with the rest of the country, these topics will be closely watched to determine the effect on employment:

  • The Supreme Court – Impact on employment cases?
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – How will it change?
  • Federal Minimum Wage – Will it be increased?
  • Federal Paid Time Off to Vote – Will it be passed?
  • Federal Restrictions – Will eased federal restrictions impact state restrictions?
  • National Labor Relations Board – How will two new members restructure the NLRB and future tactics?

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How to Free-Up Your Time While Developing Others!

by Dennis Hungridge, M.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts


It is no secret that to be a truly effective manager, you must be comfortable delegating work and making sure your employees are accountable for delivery. During the recent TPO HR Conference, Dennis presented a lively afternoon session to help build delegation skills based on TPO’s Seven Surefire Steps to Delegation.

Participants tuned-in to the best ways to assign the right tasks to the right people, the right way. In a nutshell, DELEGATION is the process of multiplying the impact of your performance and improving your outcomes through the THOUGHTFUL AND MANAGED assigning of responsibility for completing activities or tasks to direct-report employees or teams.

  1. Start with the preferred outcome in mind.
  2. Delegate the whole task to the right person.
  3. Delegate responsibility and authority and ask the employee to summarize the assignment to you.
  4. Establish an ongoing feedback process.
  5. Maintain open communication.
  6. If you are not satisfied w/progress. DON’T TAKE PROJECT BACK!
  7. Evaluate and reward performance.






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Balancing Both Legal and HR Perspectives

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts &
Jennifer Schermerhorn, Esq., The Saqui Law Group


Melissa and Jennifer engaged the audience in an HR/Legal volley while they took real-time questions from the audience and provided their candid comments, thoughts and recommendations! The questions covered many areas, with this as an example of a typical question:

Q: Rest Periods- What are the new rules around on-call rest periods not being legal in CA?


A: First, let’s go over the general long-standing requirement that hourly, non-exempt employees are provided one ten-minute rest period during each four-hour period, or major fraction thereof.

  • To the extent possible, rest periods are to be taken in the middle of work periods; they are not be combined or added to meal periods. Deviations are allowed only where practical considerations render it infeasible.
  • There is no legal requirement for employees to clock in and out for rest periods, though some employers require employees to do so.
  • Employees working shifts lasting:
  • Over 2 hours but under 3.5 hours: No rest break time
  • 3.5 – 6 hours: One ten-minute break
  • 6 hours – 10 hours: Two ten-minute breaks
  • 10 hours – 14 hours: Three  ten-minute breaks

Legal Perspective: On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled that “on-call” rest periods (where an employee can get called back to work at a moment’s notice, whether or not they are actually called back) are not permitted. If an employee is not truly relieved of all duties for the duration of the 10 minutes, then the employer is exercising control over the employee and the one-hour penalty pay is required. If an additional 10-minute period is provided within the four hours, the penalty pay is not required.

HR Leadership Perspective: In managing the need to comply with employment regulations as well as business requirements, consider changes that may need to be made in your workplace. For example, to ensure a front desk employee is truly able to leave their worksite (go outside or to a break area, ignoring phones, work directives, and customers), you may need to put up a “back in 10 minutes” sign, or create a relief system to cover break times.

Remember, TPO Members receive FREE Q&A as part of their TPO Annual Membership!

Jot down your questions and give your primary TPO Consultant a call!

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The Big Picture - The Real World - Where You Fit!

by Kathrine Parsons, SPHRca, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts

If you ask a CEO, a manager, a Human Resources practitioner and 50 employees “What Does HR Do?” you will likely get that many different answers! HR is a professional discipline that covers a vast body of knowledge and many areas of specialization, requiring both technical and behavioral expertise. An accomplished HR expert, Kathrine helped scores of conference participants frame HR’s BIG PICTURE and introduced TPO's HR Functional Assessment tool, designed to strategically assess and align individual competencies with organizational needs to create a road map to success.

Whether an HR Generalist by intention or by default, participants learned how to ALIGN with senior management about a realistic roadmap for HR’s role, ENGAGE regarding common goals, and EXECUTE on his/her role with greater confidence!

Attendees did a practice run and took away TPO’s newly designed Strategic and Tactical HR Functional Assessment Worksheets spanning the EIGHT PRIMARY FUNCTIONAL AREAS OF HR:

  1. Organizational Structure & Engagement
  2. Compliance
  3. Talent Acquisition
  4. Benefits
  5. Compensation & Performance Management
  6. Training & Development
  7. Labor & Employee Relations
  8. HRIS & Payroll

If you missed this one, don’t worry, we have scheduled a SPECIAL “Re-Run” Briefing you can attend! May 16, 9:00am – 10: 30am at TPO, there is No Charge for TPO Members to Send One Person – Others Pay $49.

WOULD YOU LOVE TO GET YOUR PHRca CERTIFICATION? Our first prep class sold out, but there are two more to choose from:

  • May 24, 31 and June 7, 141 21 & 28
  • September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25


Are you qualified? You may be surprised! Click here to learn more...

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Are You Keeping Up?!!

by Kevin Cleveland, Esq., The Saqui Law Group.


We are now in an age where the workplace isn't just a physical space occupied by employees during office hours. Today’s workplace is always connected, providing instant access to everything employees need. The lines between the physical office and the place where the ’work’ actually happens are becoming blurred.

While electronic resources bring countless advantages to communication, marketing and productivity; “the risks, implications, and costs for employersfrom recruiting through termination – are vast and ever-changing.”

Kevin’s talk addressed critical policies and practices for today’s digital workplace including: social media, employer risks, personal use of employer-owned laptops and other devices, use of personal devices (BYOD) for company business, cyber security, home and remote offices, and mobile phone and text usage while driving.

There are specific requirements involved when designing a digital workplace. Kevin distilled the Framework of a Digital Workplace into these categories:

  • Governance: Set standards of use and enforce your policies.
  • Compliance: Ensure that use stays within the boundaries of legal compliance.
  • Control: Identify your vulnerabilities and put the appropriate safeguards in place.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: Continuous improvement process.






While “there are no hard and fast rules” given the pace of changing technologies,  Kevin pointed out the key benefits, risks, and the critical policies and practices recommended for employers to “Keep Up” with the Digital Revolution at Work in 2017.

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ACA Compliance & Health Care Administration

by Dave Marshall, President, FLIS Insurance Services.




FLIS offered an expert overview of where things are, and educated forecasting about where things are likely headed regarding ACA Compliance and Health Care Administration. FLIS and their affiliates with Pacific Diversified Insurance also offered a unique opportunity to sit down one-on-one to discuss the post-election impacts on managing your Health Care and ACA Compliance.

If you missed these clinics, be sure to register for ACA Reporting & Benefits Compliance, April 11th.

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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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