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: August 7, 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:

Dealing with Difficult People: August 12

How to Say It: September 23

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:  August 26, October 7

Spanish Language Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: 
October 14


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

2. HR Q&A - Summer Means More Skin (& Tattoos)
      by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

3. CA WAGE & HOUR QUICK TIP - Salespeople.... Outside or Inside Sales
      by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA TPO


Califonia and Federal HR Legislation

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO

Paid Sick Leave - Assembly Bill (AB 1522) if passed would require that California employees who have worked at least 7 days to begin to accrue 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 Committee.

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.                                       Location: Assembly Committee.

If you would like to order a new laminated poster-set, click on the poster to place a order now.

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

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 Committee.

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

Federal Contractor Minimum Wage - 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. The House has not taken up ENDA, nor is it expected to this year.

Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S.223) - Failed passage this year. Would have raised the federal minimun wage in stages to $10.10 an hour, and then index to inflation.

End Pay Discrimination Through Information Act. (S.2199) and Paycheck Fairness Act (S.2199) - Failed passage this year. Would have prohibited retaliation against an employee who “has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the wages of the employee or another employee.” Both acts differ slightly, with S. 2199 being a scaled back version.

Interested in reading more about the bills and process?

Federal legislation:

California legislation:

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Summer Means More Skin (& Tattoos)

by Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA, TPO

Ah….summer!  Finally it’s here!  And along with the warmer weather usually comes short (or no) sleeves, capris, shorts, and sandals.  We all want to be comfortable, but is it getting a bit too casual in your workplace?  What can you allow, and NOT allow?  Let’s look at some common questions.

Can we have a “dress code”? 
Yes.  An employer can create their own definition (and requirements) for professional dress and grooming. In some businesses that can mean a coat and tie, in others it can be a polo shirt and khakis. In Ag it can mean jeans and boots.  Whatever the employer’s definition, it’s a good idea to provide specific examples of what is appropriate, and what is not appropriate such as midriff tops, short shorts, casual t-shirts, etc. 

Best Practice:  Include a Personal Appearance policy in your employee handbook.  Some employers provide actual picture examples of acceptable attire as part of the recruitment process and for reference later. Do remember, however, these important items in California:

Exceptions to your policy for religious or other reasons should be discussed and approved by the company.

Different male and female requirements are permissible if there is a clear, nondiscriminatory reason, e.g., necessary to present a professional image –  but use caution.

An employee has the right to appear or dress consistently with his/her gender identity or gender expression.

Can I NOT allow visible tattoos or body piercings?
Yes.  Employees may be required to cover tattoos and remove facial/body jewelry while working wherethey may be perceived as excessive, a safety concern, offensive, or against company standards.  As with dress codes, exceptions to your policy for religious or other reasons should be discussed and approved by the company.

Can I NOT allow flip-flops?
Yes.  As part of your dress code, the employer can define appropriate footwear whether for professional appearance and/or safety reasons.  Again, it’s good to use examples of what, and what not, to wear.

What should I do when an employee is not dressed appropriately?
It depends.  Current laws, your policy, past practices (and common sense!) go a long way here.  For example, is it the first time or the fifth time this employee has come to work dressed inappropriately?  If it is a first time occurrence and the violation is minor, a simple conversation may suffice.  If it has happened repeatedly, then disciplinary action up to an including separation of employment may be appropriate.  When an employee reports to work dressed inappropriately, and depending on the severity of his/her appearance, the employee may be sent home to change (without pay for non-exempt positions).  In all instances, do keep notes or other appropriate documentation.

Do you need help with your Personal Appearance policy? 
If so, contact your TPO Expert for assistance.

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Salespeople....exemptions depend on if it is Outside or Inside Sales

by Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO


All of the CA Wage Orders specifically exempt “outside sales” from breaks, meals, overtime, and similar wage and hour requirements. There is no minimum compensation threshold required to meet this exemption (unlike the requirements to meet the Professional, Administrative, Computer and Managerial exemptions).

Outside Salesperson means “any person, 18 years of age or over, who customarily and regularly works more than half the workingtime away from the employer’s place of business selling tangible or intangible items or obtaining orders or contracts for products, services or use of facilities.”

If the salesperson does not meet the above requirement, then they should be in a non-exempt position and must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours actually worked, in addition to receiving breaks, meals, overtime and similar wage and hour requirements.


While there is no true exemption for Inside Sales, there is an exception stating that employees working under CA Wage Orders 4 (Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical and Similar Occupations) and 7 (Mercantile) are not entitled to overtime providing their earnings exceed one and one-half times the minimum wage and more than half of the employee’s compensation represents commissions.

  • This provides only an overtime exception and the employee is still required to receive breaks, meals and similar wage and hour requirements.

If the inside commissioned employee does not meet the above requirement, overtime is due.

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Introducing Our Exceptional New Bi-Lingual/Cultural TPO Consultant!

Welcome Briget Gomez!

HR Expert, Skilled Trainer, Experienced Investigator

With 10+ years in the field of HR, Briget is a highly skilled and experienced Generalist who holds a MA in Organizational Management with a Specialization in Human Resources from Ashford University.

You can read her full TPO bio here; Meanwhile here are some highlights:

Briget has experience in multiple industries, including agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing where she has:

  • Successfully created and implemented safety training programs – decreasing lost time accidents to zero for three consecutive years!
  • Handled all aspect of HR Administration including regulatory compliance, employee relations, and on-boarding to increase employee alignment and retention.
  • Conducted time-sensitive and highly confidential investigations related to harassment and/or discrimination and safety matters.
  • Managed workers compensation claims, accident investigation, corrective actions and OSHA compliance and reporting.
  • Developed and presented a wide range of impactful education/training programs for employees and supervisors in both English and Spanish including topics such as: Harassment & Discrimination Prevention.

Contact Briget right away at to discuss your Spanish training and translation HR needs and initiatives before her calendar books up for the year!

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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!
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