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: March 8, May 10, Aug. 9 & Oct. 11

LES Begins: April 5 & September 6

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:

Cannabis in the Workplace: April 10

Excelling as a Manager/Supervisor: April 24

Do I Coach: June 19

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 13

New Parent Leave (NPL): March 20

I-9 Compliance: June 14

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 7, Aug. 21, Oct. 2 & Dec. 6



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

The SOLD OUT, all-day TPO/Littler Employment Law & Leadership Conference on 1/11/18 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"!

1. Littler's Employment Update:
      by Marlene Muraco,Esq., Littler Shareholder &
      by Richard Leasia, Esq.,Littler Shareholder 

2. Respect & Inclusion:
    Leveraging Cultural Differences & Diversity in the Workplace!

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

3. HR Q&A:
    Balancing Both Legal and Leadership Perspectives!

     by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts &
     by Marlene Muraco,Esq., Littler Shareholder

4. Wage & Hour:
    Mistakes Companies Still Make and What to do About Them!

      by Mel Cole, Esq, Littler &
      by Alice Wang,Esq., Littler

5. Do I Coach, Correct or Say Goodbye?:
    Where the Rubber Meets the Road!

      by Gina de Miranda, M.A., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca,TPO - The HR Experts

6. The AG Employer:
    Cultivating Compliance - Best Practices to Avoid Employment Liability!

      by Ryan Eddings, Esq.,Littler Shareholder 

Congratulations to the
Grand Prize Winners

Drawn from the evaluations with all eight stamps marked by our Affiliate Showcase:

California Employment Essentials:
Future Citizens Foundation

Leadership Excellence Series:
Whitson Engineers

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 2019 even better!

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

"Very informative information!"

"Another great interesting conference!"

"Thanks for another informative conference!"

"Thank you! Great Job as always!"

"Very informative topics and presenters, attendee involvement was also helpful with topic discussions!"

"I enjoyed the conference very much - everyone was helpful. Lots of info!"

"Thank you so much! Great Conference! "Respect & Inclusion" was excellent, well worth the day! Motivating!"

"Fantastic! This was my 2nd year attending. I love the relevant info, friendly staff and the way the sessions challenged me in my thinking/ways of thinking!"


by Marlene Muraco,Esq., Littler Shareholder & by Richard Leasia, Esq.,Littler Shareholder 


(Effective January 1, 2018 unless noted):



New Parent Leave (SB 63) – This law requires employers with 20-49 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of a protected unpaid leave to bond with a newborn or a child placed with the employee for adoption or foster care. Eligible Employees must have worked 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) and 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. Employers are required to pay for health insurance premiums under the same terms and conditions as prior to the leave, must be returned to the same or comparable position after the leave, and no adverse employment actions may be taken.

Salary History (AB 168) – This law prohibits an employer from seeking or using applicant salary history information in determining whether to hire the applicant or what to pay the applicant. The law also requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide apay scale relevent to the position to applicants for that position.

“Ban-the-Box” (AB 1008) –This “ban-the-box” law now prohibits employers with 5+ employees from asking about criminalconvictions on an Application for Employment. Inquiries into, and consideration of, conviction history may occur only after a conditional offer of employment has been made. In order to rescind a conditional offer, an “individual assessment” of anyconvictions discovered as they relate to the job must be communicated to the applicant along with a copy of the background checkreport, so that the applicant can respond.

Harassment Training

Immigration Worker Protection Act (AB 450) –  This law applies to public and private employers and in general, 1) prohibits providing federal immigration enforcement agents access to nonpublic areas of a place of employment without a warrant, 2) prohibits federal immigration enforcement agents review of non-I-9 forms without subpoena/warrant, and 3) requires employers provide current employees with notice of any inspection of employee records (including I-9 forms) within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection from an ICE official. Following the completion of an ICE inspection (within 72 hours of receiving the results of the inspection), employers must provide the affected employee(s), who potentially lack work authorization and/or work authorization deficiencies, a copy of the results along with a written notice of the employer’s and employee(s) obligations resulting from the inspection.

    • TPO Note:
      1. The Form I-9 was updated 7/7/2017 (click here).
      2. The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has released a template Notice of Inspection Form (click here).
      3. The DIR’s has recently released FAQ’s (click here).
      4. Attend TPO's I-9 Compliance Workshop (click here)

Labor Commissioner Authority (SB 306) –  This law allows the DLSE to initiate investigations of employers that it suspects to have committed any violation of any law under the department’s jurisdiction —with or without receiving any complaint from an allegedly aggrieved employee. The department can proceed without a complaint when suspected retaliation occurred during the course of adjudicating a wage claim, during a field inspection, or in instances of suspected unlawful immigration-related threats.

Construction Contractor Liability (AB1701) –  For certain contracts, this law provides that direct contractors assume and are liable for unpaid wages, benefits, or contributions that a subcontractor owes.

Human Trafficking Posting Requirements (AB260) –  Expands an existing posting requirement (for alcohol retailers, airports, emergency rooms, and adult or sexually-oriented businesses) to now include hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns.


Pronouns and Names. As of 7/1/2017 the CA DFEH clarified that employers are legally obligated to respect the names, genders and pronouns preferred by the employee.

  • Make it plural: They / Them / Theirs – “Tyler ate their food.” It is now considered acceptable to use in the singular context.
  • Just use the name or reconfigure the sentence: “Tyler ate Tyler’s food.” Or “Tyler ate the food.”
  • Alternate new pronouns that may gain popularity (or not…stay tuned…twists and turns expected):
  Ze (zee) / Hir (here) / Hir (here) – “Tyler ate hir food because ze was hungry.”
  • Ze (also spelled zie or xe) replaces she/he/they. Hir replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.


Restrooms and Toilets. Two main issues in the workplace:

  1. Employees must have access to the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity or expression, without proof of any medical procedure or similar documentation.
  2. Singer-user toilet facilities must be identified as all-gender. Replace any outdated single-gender signage.

CA 2018 Annual Exemption Compensation Increases. While most exemptions require a salary to be paid, the following are exemptions for employees paid hourly providing the duties requirements are met.

CA Minimum Wage Increases –  A reminder that CA minimum wage increases 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 with the increase.

$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).


CA Expanded Paid Family Leave (PFL) Insurance – A reminder that since 1/1/2018 CA PFL insurance payments increased to 60% of wages, capped at $1,100 a week (previously the amount was 55% capped at $1,011 a week), and includes a new provision that will allow for 70% of wages for employees earning $20,000 or less annually. The one-week waiting period is also eliminated.

CA Day of Rest Requirements – The Labor Code that has long required every person employed in any occupation entitled to a day’s rest in seven got some clarifications in 2017:

    1. An accumulation of days rest is allowed where the nature of the work reasonably requires it AND the employee receives days of rest equivalent to one day’s rest in seven for the calendar month;
    2. There are no requirements where an employee works 30 hours or fewer in the week and 6 or fewer hours every day of the week; and
    3. Because the employer cannot force an employee to work all 7 days (as excepted above), employers should apprise employees of their entitlement to a day of rest in seven and maintain absolute neutrality as to the exercise of that right.

Back to the top


Leveraging Cultural Differences & Diversity in the Workplace!

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

During this dynamic breakout session at TPO’s Annual Conference, Dennis spoke about the often unconscious biases and blind spots that hamper the power of respect and inclusion.  He explained why leveraging diversity and inclusion is so important for business and how employers can create an atmosphere of inclusion. Highlights include:

  • It is important to know the diversity and inclusion goals and vision of your organization and understand the diversity elements each person personally brings to the organization.
  • Treat people the way they wish to be treated regardless of what may make them appear to be different than you. Employers should drive positive change and outcomes in the workplace by being a spokesperson for diversity issues.
  • Employers can become culturally competent by learning about other cultures, religions, traditions and backgrounds by actively engaging in a diversity and inclusion effort. 
  • According to McKinsey*, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians and companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.







Dennis used real-life examples and as always engaged and educated his audience!

Remember, TPO training topics are only limited by the individual client’s needs and imagination!


Back to the top

Balancing Both Legal and Leadership Perspectives!

by Marlene Muraco, Esq., Littler Shareholder & Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, TPO - The HR Experts

Marlene and Melissa engaged the audience in their usual balancing act while they took questions from the audience and provided their comments, thoughts and recommendations…often with a bit of humor to add some levity to an area of business that is often frustrating for those administering the HR function!

Some of the more common themes that emerged and their recommendations:

1. Focus on Performance! Number one priority. Period. The more that you can show how the employee’s performance rated against the work performance factors, the more you can deflect claims of partiality, unfairness and even discrimination. Performance documentation is key to successful defense!
2. PAUSE! Rarely do employment decisions need to be made immediately. It is often best to “pause” the discussion and agree to a time/date to reconvene to better discuss the situation. This usually results in a more level-headed, fact-based and defensible decision that can be better conveyed to the employee at the appropriate time.
3. Know Your Role! You are not the employee’s healthcare provider (so don’t give medical advice or make medical assumptions). You are not the employee’s Workers’ Compensation Claims Adjuster (so don’t give your opinion on if the injury/illness is work-related). You ARE the HR representative and/or manager who through “care and concern” can work within healthcare provider recommendations WHILE ensuring the functions of the job can be performed.
4. The Devil May Just Be in the Details! HR is tasked with staying on top of a LOT of details! Use of a calendaring system to ensure follow-up is vital in many areas of HR, including: I-9 work authorization document expiration, leave of absence start/end dates, annual review prompts, official separation of employment date, when breaks/meals are taken, and so many more detailed areas.
5. Determine Your Level of Risk-Tolerance and/or Risk-Avoidance! Each employer has their own level and it is important in guiding HR decisions. Departments and individual managers must also be in alignment with the policies of the organization.


Remember, TPO Members receive FREE Q&A as part of their TPO Annual Membership!
Jot down your questions and call your primary TPO Consultant!



Back to the top

Mistakes Companies Still Make and What to do About Them!

by Mel Cole, Esq., Littler & Alice Wang, Esq., Littler

The Wage and Hour Update, presented by two Littler Employment Law Attorneys, Mel Cole and Alice Wang, was very well attended and chock full of very relevant information for all employers. Hearing the recent court settlements really underscored the importance of reviewing HR policies and how they are being practiced across the organization on a regular basis.  One example Mel Cole brought forward, Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc.  pertained to Rest Breaks.  Here is a summary of that court case and a quick snap shot of other daily HR practices with common errors and best practices/corrections they recommend:

Rest Breaks:
Non-Compliant Practices
  • Keeping employees in an “on call” status during their rest break period
Best Practices
  • Employees must be completely free of work duties/responsibilities during their rest breaks
The CA Supreme Court finally ruled on a case that has been in the system for 12 years – Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., and a Settlement Judgement against ABM Security Services, Inc., of $110,000,000.00 was the outcome.  In short, the lawsuit against ABM alleged the company unlawfully required security guards to carry walkie-talkies and otherwise remain “on call” during rest breaks.
Meal Periods:
Non-Compliant Practices
  • Automatically deducting unpaid meal periods from a non-exempt employee’s pay
Best Practices
  • Require employees to clock out and back in for meal periods
  • Require employees to certify that they took their meal periods
Timekeeping Practices:
Non-Compliant Practices
  • Paying employees based on their scheduled shift
  • “Exception” time reporting (defaulting the time record to an employee’s scheduled work hours unless the employee reports working more or fewer hours)
Best Practices
  • Electronic timekeeping
  • Require employees to punch in and out when they begin and stop working
  • Pay to the punch, without rounding
  • Require employees to certify their work hours
Bonuses and Commissions:
Non-Compliant Practice
  • Failure to include “all remuneration” in the “regular rate”
Best Practice
    The Regular Rate
  • “All Remuneration for employment” paid to an employee in a workweek divided by all hours worked in the workweek
    All Remuneration
    • Remuneration means wages and other economic benefits that an employee receives for work
    • UNLESS: The remuneration is explicitly excluded under Section 7(e) of the FLSA*
    • The regular rate can change every workweek if employee receives compensation in addition to hourly wages or salary *California follows the FLSA in this regard


TPO’s CA Employment Essentials (CEE) in March or May (click here) and/or Wage and Hour Update coming in August, additional training to keep you informed and up to date on both compliance and best HR practices.


Back to the top

Where the Rubber Meets the Road!

by Gina de Miranda, M.A., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca, TPO - The HR Experts

Leaders set people up for success.  Leading is a delicate process which involves constant course correction of employees to keep them aimed at their goals and it can be difficult, which is why many managers avoid it.  If you felt that you are coaching and cajoling with little to show for it, this presentation hit the mark and was packed with tools and techniques that work. Gina illustrated practical ways to take session participants from being frustrated observers to actively inspiring the best from their employees. Feedback confirmed that people left the presentation equipped to address performance challenges with increased skill and confidence. Drawing on decades of experience from across TPO’s staff and history, this popular presentation focused on:

  • Setting People Up for Success with a thorough introduction to the workplace and their job description as well as performance expectations.
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback to drive accountability.
  • Coaching, Correction or Both... and when to use each one for the best results.
  • Sidestepping Legal Landmines.
  • When and How to PIP—  what a good Performance Improvement Plan includes and how they should be used.
  • When and How to Say Goodbye — when things do not work out, the separation properly performed can be a new beginning for the employee.


For a lively take on management, development and discipline, this presentation cannot be beat. 

If you missed it at the TPO Conference, not to worry, we have scheduled another opportunity for you to attend!.  For more information or to register (Click Here) or, visit TPO's Pre-scheduled Training's (Click Here).


Back to the top

Cultivating Compliance - Best Practices to Avoid Employment Liability!

by Ryan Eddings, Esq.,Littler Shareholder 

This year, TPO introduced a special afternoon breakout session specifically for those in the agriculture industry. Agricultural employers face a multitude of unique employment law issues in the areas of wage and hour law, immigration, health, safety andjoint employer liability. Ryan Eddings one of Littler’s leading attorneys and Ag employment law expert, provided an informative program to address issues in those areas that are particularly relevant to the agricultural industry, including the new overtime rules, the proper way to implement piece rate compensation, rest and recovery period obligations, and ways to reduce potential liability when using farm labor contractors. In this session, participants learned how to administer best HR practices in the following critical areas of regulatory compliance:

Wage and Hour Issues Piece Rate Compensation Plans
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • CA Wage Orders
  • Independent Contractor
  • AB1513
  • Rest Periods
  • Non-Productive Work Time
  • Wage Statements
Farm Labor Contractors Occupational Health and Safety Obligations
  • AB1897
  • IIPP
  • Heat Illness & Injury Prevention
  • Pesticide Exposure
Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) Other Issues for Ag Employers
    • Union Access
    • Amendments
    • Gerawan Farming
  • I-9 Compliance
  • H2-A Guest Worker Program and related documentation
  • Unlawful Retaliation

There was a lot to learn, and Ryan delivered! Based on the popularity of this session – we will be including The Ag Employer Update in next year’s conference programming and beyond! A big thank you to Ryan for the comprehensive program development and traveling to share his wealth of information all the way from Fresno!

Back to the top

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!




Click on logos to learn more!

Back to the top