n  7th Annual Employment Law and Leadership Conference

n  2011 Mandated Training Year

n  Training_Calendar

n  2011 Legal Update

n  TPO Complete

n  legislative_update

n  TPO's Leave Management Support Services

n  TPO New Members

n  Shop.com



Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials

A training series focusing on the regulatory compliance and HR best practices - the information & skills supervisors & managers need to keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!

n April '11

Management Excellence Series

A training series focusing on practical leadership and communication skills to help managers develop or refine their effectiveness as leaders!

n March '11

Training Calendar

n FMLA/CFRA Compliance

March 10

n Workers Compensation

March 30

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work

April 20

n Excelling as a First Time Manager or Supervisor

April 27


TPO HR Outsourcing Orientation

n Join us for breakfast

March 15

Join us for a quick overview of how TPO Membership can save you not only time, but money!

TPO’s team of consultants and staff combined with 10 leading labor attorneys from Littler Mendelson’s San Jose Office presented our 7th Annual Employment Law & Leadership Update in typical power-packed fashion! Held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Monterey – this was a sustainable event.

The morning began with the Littler Update presented by Dennis Brown, Esq. Managing Partner, and Marlene Muraco, Esq., Shareholder. The Littler Update received participant ratings of 90% high and 10% medium (no low scores of course!).

This year, our Panel Discussion segment combined three top Littler lawyers (Alan Carlson, Adam Fiss, and Gina Chang) with two TPO Senior HR Consultants (Melissa Irwin, CA-SPHR and LaTonya Olivier, M.Ed., SPHR-CA, CCP, GRP) to balance responses to each audience question with a legal and then an HR perspective.

“I’ve been to a variety of conferences over the years with boring presentations & terrible speakers. I was very impressed with the morning speakers & panel - their presentation, speaking skills & qualify of info provided. A lot of information I can apply right away & many new areas to look into.”

Our Legal Clinics continued in popularity – where conference attendees had the opportunity to meet individually with Littler attorneys in specialized areas such as: Wage & Hour, Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, Employee Leaves, Immigration, Labor-Management Relations, Policies & Procedures, Privacy, Public Sector and Unfair Competition.

“The one-on-one clinics were excellent. I received in-depth advice for many specific questions. This conference was excellent!”

The Afternoon Sessions were full of timely information presented in four separate programs – two legal topics and two leadership. The legal sessions were: The Digital Workplace 2011 – Keeping Pace with Technology by Adam Fiss, Esq. and Erica Kelley, Esq., and Health Care Reform – Sweeping Changes Employers Need to Know NOW! by Ronald Peters, Esq. The leadership sessions, were: Motivating Employees with Total Rewards Thinking – It’s Not ALL About the Pay by LaTonya Olivier, TPO Sr. Consultant, and Games Organizations Play – Refresh Your Workplace Fun with Learning Tools by Melissa Irwin, TPO Sr. Consultant.

Read more about each of these program segments below. Meanwhile, we want to thank Dennis Brown and his team of Littler Mendelson experts for their fabulous role in making this annual conference another one to remember. Thank you to everyone who attended. If you were not able to attend the 7th annual, TPO and Littler are already collaborating on exciting ideas for 2012, so don’t miss it!

Here is some more feedback conference participants shared on their program evaluations:

  • Provided great variety of different topics. Providing hire (audit) laws + processes as reminders paper documents would add to the seminars. (very difficult to make out comment)

  • Great conference!

  • Very well done – lots of information with very skilled & knowledgeable presenters + staff – the whole conference – details – presentations – Bravo!

  • Great program! And specially great to see you all =)

  • Staff is very well prepared, knowledgeable & charismatic. I learned a lot w/ minimum pain! ~ Barbara Steele, Central Coast College

  • It was very informational and made fun.

  • Always an enjoyable + informative Conference!

  • It was a very good conference. It helps answer many questions

  • Enjoyed the conference. Thank you. Very well planned and the Hyatt was great.

  • As always, well organized + very relevant

  • Great as always

  • Lunch was yummy! Enjoyed the new location. Great day! Had fun!

Thanks to everyone who completed the conference evaluation. We appreciate your opinions and comments. Each year we consider this important feedback as we continue to bring you the best possible Employment Law & Leadership Conference experience possible!

Article written by: Jill Russell, SPHR

California AB 1825 became law in 2005 and mandates two hours of supervisor “Harassment and Discrimination” training every two years. That means that it is time to plan for your 2011 training sessions in order to maintain compliance. Our updated program is highly interactive and has valuable new materials to help your supervisors understand and comply with the harassment, discrimination and retaliation aspects of the law. If you book your training dates by the end of March 2011, we will discount the cost by a full 15%!

Start your New Year the right way, with assured compliance and a hefty discount by contacting us at 1-800-277-8448 to lock in your 2011 training times and dates. We can deliver the Harassment and Discrimination program at your business site, or you can send your employees to our TPO University Professional Development Center at 60 Garden Court, Suite 100, in Monterey.

Want to review the PowerPoint programs?

We went “green” and placed handouts on our website for those who wanted to print paper copies.
TPO Members can click here to request access to a special link on TPO’s website to view all programs.

Main Session: 2011 Employment Law Update

Dennis Brown, Esq. and Marlene Muraco, Esq. of Litter

What is new:


  • Department of Labor (DOL) — The DOL has clarified that their focus will be on enforcement of regulations. This will mean a higher scrutiny of commonly litigated issues such as overtime, regular rate, exempt misclassifications and improper wage deductions – are you ready?

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — The EEOC will also aggressively focus on enforcement of regulations, hiring an additional 383 employees to help in that process.

  • Healthcare Reform — While the details continue to be battled out in courts, there are key provisions effective 2011. For a more complete review, read the “Afternoon Session” recap below.

  • Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — Employers are prohibited from requesting, requiring, purchasing or using genetic information.

  • Lactation Break – Requires employers to provide “reasonable break time” to express milk “each time” that employee has a need to do so for up to one year after the birth of the child.

  • IRS Mileage Rate – The IRS 2011 optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes is 51 cents per mile for business miles driven. This rate is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. This amount is an increase from the 2010 rate of 50 cents.


  • Organ and Bone Marrow Donations Leave Mandate (SB 1304) — This new CA law requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide paid leave of up to 30 days for organ donations and 5 days for bone marrow donations. Such employees have a guaranteed right to return to their job and retaliation is prohibited. This time is in addition to existing sick, PTO and vacation policies and does not run concurrently with CFRA or FMLA. Available sick, PTO and vacation can be credited against this time: up to 2 weeks for organ donations and 5 days for bone marrow donation.

  • Domestic Violence Victims - Unemployment (AB 2364) — This new CA law revises the Unemployment Insurance Code by specifying that a claimant is eligible for benefits where he or she left employment to protect his or her family from domestic violence abuse.

  • Clarification of Waiting time Penalties — The CA Supreme Court clarified that when employees are not paid their final wages correctly upon separation of employment, the statute of limitation to bring the claim is three years, not one year. The penalty for such failure is the payment of daily wages for every day the final pay was not provided up to a maximum of one month.

What to expect going forward:

  • Federal: Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) — Ongoing debates centering around whether a union will continue to be recognized only through a secret ballot election or, or as EFCA would allow, a simple card-check certification.

  • CA: Review of Meal/Rest Breaks hoped for — Though the CA Supreme Court has declined oral argument of the issue for the past two year, it is hoped that this year the Court will make a decision relating to whether the meal must be merely “provided” or “ensure” it was actually taken. Stay tuned!

Panel Discussion The perfect balance of TPO HR experts and Littler’s employment law experts

Proving that five heads are better than one, the panel worked through actual audience questions giving a legal perspective as well as an HR leadership perspective.

Afternoon Session: The Digital Workplace - Keeping Pace with Changing Technology –

Adam Fiss, Esq. and Erica Kelly, Esq. of Litter

With Employee’s spending more and more time on social media networking sites, Key Things Employer’s need to keep in mind when creating Social Media policies:

- Clearly communicate an electronic resources policy intended to shape employees’ expectation of privacy and preserve an employer's right to review employee activity during work hours or using company equipment.

- Accessing unrestricted profiles are usually fair game ~ but use caution and be consistent !

- Do not use false pretenses.

- If a “friend” provides access to the profile or a restricted website , confirm that the “friend” is a user , emphasize assistance is voluntary and obtain written authorization.

- SUPERVISORS: choose your “friends” carefully!

What is interesting to know:

- July 2009 independent study shows 1.5% loss of total employment productivity because of social networking sites.

- Some employees spend two hours per day at work on Facebook, though the average is 15-20 minutes in a work day.

- The Twitter community grew 1382% from 2/08 ~ 2/09.

Afternoon Session: Motivating Employees with Total Rewards Thinking - It is not all about pay! – LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA, CCP, GRP TPO Sr. Consultant

Employers have been dealing with adjustments (or lack of adjustments) to employees’ pay during the economic challenges of the past couple of years. Some are now in the very difficult stage of having to reduce staff by actual people and some are dealing with how to adjust to bringing on the new employees needed, but not create inequities. We explored how the Total Rewards model works and how to use it.

Total Rewards Include:

  • Everything the Employee Perceives as Valuable

  • Different for every employer as demonstrated by some examples

    - “We are a cause our employees feel passionate about.”
    - “We have a workout room onsite.”
    - “They get golf privileges.”
    - “We bring in dinner when everyone has to work late.”

Caution if You Must Lower Wages/Reduce Staff:

  • Use Clear/Objective Criteria

  • Communicate promptly and honestly

  • Don’t make promises about the future

  • Have a professional third party review what you do

Dealing with the RESET ECONOMY

  • Adjusting your Hiring

    - People expect higher wages
    - People want it NOW, not later
    - More focus on employer providing training and development

  • Adjusting your Rewards

    - Employees expect recognition for their loyalty
    - Employees expect sacrifices to end
    - Employees are comparing notes more and more

Technical Steps are Important

  • Have a total rewards strategy/philosophy and communicate it

  • Don’t guess at base pay – get professional help

  • Use incentive pay more to get more for your money

Afternoon Session: Health Care Reform - Sweeping changes employer need to know now! – Ronald Peters, Esq. of Litter

There is a lot happening in 2011 regarding health care, especially with Employer-sponsored health care plans. For any in-depth questions pertaining to your Company’s Employer-sponsored health care plans, please consult with your Benefit Broker.

What is New:

  • Extension of Dependent Coverage. Dependent coverage for adult children has been extended to age 26, regardless of student or disabled status. Coverage not extended to adult children who have another eligible employer-sponsored health care plan available. Applies to Health FSA plans as well.

  • Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions. May not impose pre-existing condition clauses on plan eligible dependent children under the age of 19. Effective 2014, no pre-existing condition clauses on any plan eligible dependent children.

  • Restrictions on Annual Limits. Plan may impose restricted annual limits based on dollar value of essential benefits. ($750,000 for 2011 and increases annually). Plan may have annual limits on non-essential health benefits.

  • Restrictions on Lifetime Limits. No more imposed lifetime limits on dollar value of essential health benefits. No prohibition on lifetime limits on non-essential health benefits.

  • No Rescission of Coverage. Coverage may not be rescinded except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

What to expect going forward:

  • Many of these changes are still being finalized by Legislation, be on the lookout for any updates throughout 2011.

Afternoon Session: Games Organizations Play – Refresh your workplace with FUN learning tools! – Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO Sr. Consultant

In this session participants learned to “pause,” take a break, and learn some fun new teambuilding tools. All with the purpose of going back to the workplace refreshed and ready to lead!

Indicators that your team could use some FUN refreshment

  • Meetings are dull and boring without much creativity or problem solving.

  • Team members are “doing more with less” and feeling burnt out at the long duration of this reality.

  • A usually supportive team is now in-fighting and not as productive.

How “Fun and Games” positively impact teamwork

  • Shows a caring, “human,” “in-touch” leader.

  • Promotes group trust, communication, morale and bonding.

  • Relieves stress and can help defuse typical workplace conflict.

  • Has a direct impact on the bottom line!


Take them “to-go!” For the answer to the brain teaser at the right and above, as well as all the actual brain teasers and games used in the program, TPO Members click here!

Need Help Bringing FUN to your Workplace?

TPO facilitates teambuilding training where through “fun” activities, groups come together to result in a more productive, satisfied team! Programs range from one hour to all day!

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

REINVENTING your organization?

Looking for ways to STREAMLINE your operation and costs?

TPO has always been a leader in evolving to meet our Member and client needs. Now we have moved to a new level. We are introducing our newest response to what we hear from you about service!

Flexibility for YOUR Business Needs

Elements you can select/combine:

  • World class TPOHR support for your employment needs

  • Outstanding and cost effective payroll outsourced

  • Completely outsourced leave management including all legally required leaves and Cal/COBRA administration

  • Management of your Workers’ Compensation and back to work program

  • Excellent range of employee benefits, workers’ compensation and other insurance needs through one of our insurance partners

  • Varied options for your retirement benefits needs through one of our outstanding partner organizations

  • HRIS selection and implementation

  • On-site administration of files and routine HR duties

  • Ability to include various a la carte services in your annual Membership

Sounds great, right? Contact your TPO Consultant with your “shopping list” and let us show you how flexible we can be.

The New Year has brought new administrative focus and employment-related bills are making their way through the legislative process!

CA Pending Legislation

  • Medical Marijuana (SB129) — Would prevent employers from firing, or refusing to hire workers who use medical marijuana, as long as they are not impaired on the job. Exceptions for employees who have a prescription for medical marijuana will need to be made. Termination of any employee who uses marijuana at the workplace, during working hours, or who is impaired during working hours would be allowed.

  • Expansion of CFRA (AB 59) — Would expand several definitions of terms in the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) for employers of 50, including: eliminating the age and dependency elements from the definition of “child,” expanding the definition of “parent” to include an employee’s parent-in-law; and permitting an employee to also take leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, sibling or grandchild.

  • Minimum Wage (AB 10) — Would raise the state minimum wage to $8.50 per hour with an automatic annual indexing of minimum wage for every year thereafter according to the percentage of inflation.

  • Credit Checks (AB 22) — Would limit employers’ ability to use consumer credit reports only where the information contained in the report is “substantially job-related,” which is narrowly defined by the bill to only managerial positions, employees of the city, county, or state Department of Justice, law enforcement, or a position for which a report is required by law.

  • Unionization (SB 104) — Would eliminating the secret ballot election and replacing it with the submission of representation cards signed by over 50% of the employees.

  • Taxable Status Of Health Care Premiums (AB 36) — Would align CA with federal law so that health care premiums paid for adult children between the ages of 19 and 25 would be non taxable.    

Federal Pending HR Topics

  • NLRB Required Notice — Would require ALL employers (whether unionized or not) to post a notification or their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA applies to most private-sector workplaces, but is not applicable to airline, rail or agricultural workers.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA



TPO will manage your leave administration, including Workers’ Compensation claims, from beginning to end.

WHAT DOES LEAVE OF ABSENCE SUPPORT MEAN? For a low monthly fee, a designated TPO expert will manage every aspect of an employee’s leave. What we like to call “Leaves from A to Z”. As soon as you are made aware of an upcoming leave, simply notify TPO and we will take it from there! We’ll even take over for leaves in progress.

"The TPO family has been a real blessing for me in my job as HR at Nepenthe/Phoenix Corp. Now they have made my job even easier with their “Leave Management” support services. Leaves have always been difficult for me and I used TPO for help with them every time we had one, now I only need to call “Angela” (my fabulous Angel) and she takes over. It really is a wonderful service!" Willie Nelson

 Click here for more information!

n MARIN Agricultural - point reyes station

n EL PAjaro community development corporation- watsonville

n Louis ptak construction - pacific grove

n cordevalle - san martin

n qi ultralounge - san francisco

n Doolittle & Ganos Investment Counsel, - san Carmel

n Berry Pack - salinas

n Pacific valley bank - salinas

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 HR experts! Thank you for joining!

TPO: "Shop.com has been a TPO member for over 3 years - and your history with TPO goes back more than 15 years. How do you feel TPO contributes to an employer's success?”

Cynthia Nelson Holmsky, MA, SPHR, Vice President, Human Resources: "Peace of mind is not usually associated with the field of land minds business leaders and HR generalists have to navigate when it comes to human resource management. But Peace of Mind is the benefit I have experienced with TPO for many years. I wouldn’t consider working without my TPO partners.

The labor laws in California are so complex that effective leaders running a business simply cannot be experts in all the details of regulatory compliance, and solo HR and legal generalist have similar challenges. It has been my experience that adding TPO’s expertise to your team strengthens your HR practices in so many ways. TPO starts by helping to lay the foundation of solid HR policies with their customized employee handbook solution. Then, as the reality of workplace issues arise, my favorite service is being able to pick up the phone and have a personal consult with an HR expert on any topic at any time. Even after many years of handling HR matters, I appreciate that confidential second opinion from an expert to put my mind at ease.

Membership with TPO also saves me time. Small things, for example if I need a software engineer to screen job candidates and he is not yet aware of interviewing do’s and don’ts, I just call TPO and get tools for coaching. Mid-sized things like leave of absence letters and forms? TPO’s toolkit saves days to develop these from scratch, depending on how much review is needed to untangle details in FMLA, CFRA, PDL, PFL and SDI. Something big like a workplace investigation? A TPO consultant will save weeks of time, as well as emotional strain of handling your own investigation. And because they are specialized experts (and licensed), TPO consultants can get the job done faster, and with more precision.

All businesses carry risk, and HR risk is unavoidable. But having a partner like TPO lowers your exposure, solves daily problems, and frees your time to focus on other things, like unlocking potential in your business...”


Leading Technology Company in Monterey Bay Region ~ Offering Career Opportunities in E-Commerce & Innovative Software Development.

SHOP.COM, a Market America company, is the comparison shopping engine designed to meet the shopping needs of today’s savvy, online shopper and the business needs of merchants seeking to increase online sales. SHOP.COM brings together thousands of stores with over 50 million products in a fun, engaging shopping experience that helps customers “Shop Smart, Save Big”. For more information, please visit the About Us section of www.shop.com.

As a local employer, SHOP.COM offers dynamic career opportunities for web developers, java engineers, and experts in search engine technologies and online marketing in a highly complex, live website environment - all here on the Central Coast! Local techies are encouraged to explore opportunities in the About Us / Careers section of www.shop.com, or introduce themselves at recruiting@shop.com.

Market America, the parent company, is a product brokerage and Internet marketing company that specializes in One-to-One Marketing. With more than six million customers and 180,000 Shopping Consultants worldwide, the company has generated over $3.4 billion in accumulated retail sales. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC – the company was founded in 1992 by president and CEO James Ridinger and employs over 600 people globally with international operations in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and the Philippines. Through its revolutionary One-to-One Marketing concept, Market America combines the Internet with the power of people – creating the ultimate online shopping destination. More information is available at www.MarketAmerica.com.

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2010. All rights reserved.
TPO's Employment Upd@te may not be reproduced or re-transmitted without change or modification of any kind. The information provided is designed to be accurate in content. TPO provides human resource consulting and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. Readers are advised to consult legal counsel on matters involving employment law or important personnel policies & practices before adoption or implementation.