CA Employment Essentials
A training series focusing on the
regulatory compliance and
- the information & skills supervisors & managers need to
keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!
A training series focusing on
skills to help
develop or refine
World Class Customer Service
Harassment and Discrimination
a lesson from a Salinas employer case
Monterey County Herald reported that four former packers at
a Salinas frozen-food company who were awarded a shared
amount of $535,000. These employees were fired after
complaints of sexual harassment were lodged against a
supervisor. The settlement resulted from a federal suit
against the company by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC). The suit was filed by the EEOC in January
Four workers were fired shortly after two of them filed
discrimination claims against the maker of nationally
distributed food products. The four workers had complained
about a supervisor's actions to company managers, but no
investigation was conducted by the company into the claims
according to the agency.
Complaints included sexual comments, gestures simulating
sexual acts with female workers, exposing himself, texted
pornographic material and grabbing a worker’s private parts.
is that if employers hear complaints about a supervisor
sexually harassing (employees) you need to do an
investigation," a representative of the EEOC said.
"If you terminate so soon after a complaint, there is no
other conclusion other than retaliation."
In addition to
the monetary settlement, under the terms of the agreement,
the company must bolster its policies against sexual
harassment, provide training to managers and employees and
periodically report to the EEOC regarding complaints of
harassment or retaliation. These requirements are elements
of the required
Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training in California.
This is a year when most employers of 50 or more employees
and all public sector employers must provide 2 hours of such
training to managers and supervisors.
The EEOC website
has information showing that more than a third of its cases
deal with retaliation and that for the first time,
retaliation surpassed racial discrimination in 2010 as the
most frequently filed charge. Representatives from the EEOC
said, "Employers who try to solve a harassment problem by
getting rid of the people who speak out about it will only
add to that statistic.”
FOR OVER 20 YEARS TPO is the
ONLY REGIONAL HR FIRM IN California
providing a unique combination of S/PHR-CA
CERTIFIED HR EXPERTS who are
LICENSED PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS (PI-25638). Under
Business and Professions Code Section 7522(e) independent
contractors who perform investigations must be licensed
private investigators and attorneys performing their duties
as attorneys. Under newly proposed amendments to the Code,
the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services will soon
issue administrative citations and assess fines up to a
maximum of $5,000 per citation for unlicensed activity by
any persons advertising for the purpose of soliciting
business without a license.
We have extensive experience and success with investigating
highly sensitive harassment and discrimination claims, as
well as other forms of workplace malfeasance including
computer forensics. We also serve as expert witnesses. With
our HR knowledge and employee relations skills, employers
can be confident that these delicate matters are handled in
a way that limits unnecessary disruptions to morale and
provides complete information with which to make adjustments
Article written by:
Robert Russell, SPHR
COMPLIANCE (presented by The Mike Saqui Law Group)
can face stiff penalties for IRCA (Immigration Reform &
Control Act) violations!
July 13, 2011, 9:00 –
CARE REFORM (presented by Industry Experts)
Changes Employers Need to Know NOW!
August (tbd), 2011, 9:00 –
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SIMPLIFIED (presented by TPO)
Take Now to Keep Employees on Track!
August 25, 2011, 8:30 –
ORGANIZATIONS PLAY – Refresh Your Workplace with FUN
Learning Tools (presented by TPO)
control of the impact you have on workplace morale and
September 8, 2011, 8:30 –
MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES WITH TOTAL REWARDS THINKING– It’s Not
All About Pay! (presented by TPO)
Cutting Options to Consider in Today’s Economy!
October 27, 2011, 8:30 –
Location for all
briefings: TPO’s Professional Development Center, 60
Garden Court, Monterey.
Can't Join us
are also available via Webinar!
Cost: One Free seat for Members, $35
Click here for more information and to register!
U.S. Layoffs Lowest Since 1995
The massive private company layoffs appear to be over with
employers announcing 130,749 job cuts nationwide in the
first quarter, the lowest since 1995, reports Challenger,
Gray & Christmas, the international outplacement firm that
Bills are making their way
through the legislative process with some stalled out and
some gaining speed. Keep current before they become law by
knowing the following:
Legislation – Pending on Governor’s Desk
CA Legislation – Pending in Legislature
Bereavement Leave (AB 325) — Would
require employers to provide an employee with up to four
days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a
spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild,
or domestic partner. Bill Status: Passed to the
Payroll Cards (AB 51) —
Would put restrictions on
the use of payroll cards. Bill Status: Pending in
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.
Bill Status: Passed to the Senate.
Medical Marijuana (SB 129) — Would prevent
employers from firing, or refusing to hire workers who
use medical marijuana, as long as they are not impaired
on the job. Pre-employment drug testing would require
exceptions for employees who have a prescription for
medical marijuana. Termination of any employee who uses
marijuana at the workplace, during working hours, or who
is impaired during working hours would be allowed.
Bill Status: Still Pending in the Senate.
CA Legislation – Failed deadline
“Good Faith” Defense (SB 883) — Would have
provided employers who relied in good faith upon and in
conformity with the opinions, interpretations, guidance,
advice, or orders of the Division of Labor Standards
Enforcement (DLSE) with an affirmative defense against
claims challenging the validity of the employer's wage
and hour practices on such issues. Bill Status:
Sick Leave (AB 400) —
Would have required employers with fewer than 10
employees to give 7 paid sick days
a year and larger companies 9 days a year. Eligibility
would have been after 90 days on the job and employees
could have used the leave for their own or family
members’ sicknesses and doctor’s appointments. Paid
leave would also have been required for issues related
to domestic violence or sexual assault. Bill Status:
Expansion of CFRA (AB 59) —
Would have expanded 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.
Bill Status: Failed deadline.
Wage (AB 10) —
Would have raised 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. Bill Status: Failed deadline.
The Healthy Families Act (H.R. 1876, S. 984) -
Would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick time
for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours
(seven days) annually. Bill Status: In committee.
Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1519, S. 797)
Fair Pay Act (H.R. 1493, S. 788) -
Would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
to promote pay equity. Bill Status: In committee.
Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act (H.R. 1440) –
Would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to
allow both private and federal employees to take
parental involvement leave to participate in or attend
their children's and grandchildren's educational and
extracurricular activities, and to clarify that leave
may be taken for routine family medical needs and to
assist elderly relatives, and for other purposes.
Bill Status: In committee.
Payroll Fraud Prevention Act (S. 770) -
Would impose new
reporting requirements on employers, increase penalties
for classification violations, and establish new
protections for workers who believe they have been
misclassified as non-employees. Bill Status: In
Secure America through Verification and Enforcement
(SAVE) Act (H.R. 2000) – Among other
provisions, would create a four-year phase-in period
during which all employers would eventually be required
to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of
their potential and current hires. Bill Status: In
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
Thanks for Giving Youths an Opportunity – but be
Employers often provide opportunities to young people to
earn some money, increase their job skills, and learn about
possible careers in the summer.
It is great to have people who can take on the work which
might otherwise burden employees who are trying to adjust to
vacation schedules or just have a lot of administrative work
that has built up. Although it is good to have some willing
and energetic new employees, employing minors does involve
some advance planning and thinking.
Employment of minors is regulated under numerous
authorities, such as the California Labor Code, the
Education Code, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
to name a few, and the regulations vary by industry and age
of the minor. A minor is anyone who is under 18 years of age
and required to attend school and therefore subject to
California’s child labor protections.
Before employing a minor, ensure you are familiar with your
industry regulations and avoid these common mistakes: not
obtaining proper work permits; not paying required wages to
minors; employing minors in prohibited occupations; and
violating permitted work hour restrictions.
For purposes of this article, we will focus on employing
minors 14-17 years of age.
Employers must obtain proper work permits which are required
year-round, even when school is not in session. The school
year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 and work permits
expire five days after the start of the new school year.
Work permits are issued by the Superintendent of the school
district where the minor goes to school or lives. The
employer or the minor must obtain (from the superintendent)
and complete the Statement of Intent to Employ a Minor, and
obtain a Permit to Employ and Work. Work permits are not
required if the minor is a high school graduate, or has a
certificate of proficiency.
Minors must be paid no less then the minimum wage and
overtime if applicable. Minors are typically not allowed to
work more than eight hours in a day. See below for more
Minors are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle on public
highways and streets for the purpose of their job which
includes delivering any type of goods from a motor vehicle.
Generally, prohibited occupations include: excavation,
manufacturing explosives, mining, and operating many types
of power-driven equipment. For more information on this
subject, visit the Department of Labor website at
Generally, minors age 14-15 can work three hours per day on
a school day outside of school hours and eight hours on a
non-school day. They can work up to 18 hours per week while
school is in session and up to 40 hours per week when school
is out. Minors in this age range are permitted to work
between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. except from June 1 through Labor Day
when they can work until 9 p.m.
Generally, minors age 16-17 can work four hours per day on a
school day and eight hours on a non-school day or on any day
preceding a non-school day while school is in session. When
school is out, they can work eight hours a day. The maximum
amount of hours they can work is up to 48 hours per week,
even when school is in session. Minors in this age range are
permitted to work between 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. and can work
until 12:30 a.m. on any evening preceding a non-school day,
such as Saturday evening or during the summer.
Be cautious because many minors may attend summer school, so
the school day hours would apply in that case.
Note: If a minor works two jobs, both jobs count toward the
Effective July 1, 2008, it became illegal for individuals
under age 18 to drive a motor vehicle while using a mobile
phone, even with a hands-free device. This includes other
mobile service devices, such as a broadband personal
communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a
pager, a two-way messaging device, or a handheld device or
laptop computer with mobile data access. However, minors may
make calls for emergency purposes only to, for example, a
law enforcement agency, a healthcare provider, or the fire
Note: There are many additional exceptions to hiring minors
and this list is not inclusive. If you have specific
questions about your organization’s plans to incorporate
young workers, please call TPO for more assistance.
Article written by:
LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA
“Reporting Time Pay”
… When an employee is ready to work, but not put to work!
When employees in non-exempt positions report to work as
scheduled, but are not put to work, or are asked to leave
prior to the end of the scheduled shift, reporting time pay
may be due.
Decision Made by Employer: When the decision is made
by the employer for the employer’s own reasons (not enough
customers or work to do, for example) the non-exempt
employee must be paid half of the scheduled shift, no less
than 2 hours, nor more than 4 hours.
Decision Out of Employer’s
Control: When an employee is scheduled to work, however
operations cannot continue and it is out of the employer’s
control (rain, fires, floods, power failures, earthquakes,
etc.) the organization may choose to send non-exempt
employees home and the time off can either be paid or unpaid
at the employer’s discretion.
For example: Joe is
scheduled for a 10 hour shift, but upon arriving at
work, the weather conditions are so bad, the supervisor
closes the store and tells him to go home. Joe is not
required to be paid for that day.
Reporting Time Pay policies
are common in
Employee Handbooks TPO writes.
Is it in your Employee Handbook?
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
LET THE EXPERTS HANDLE IT FOR YOU!
TPO’S LEAVE OF ABSENCE SUPPORT SERVICES!
TPO will manage your leave
administration, including Workers’ Compensation claims, from
beginning to end.
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” and she takes over. It really is a wonderful
service!" Willie Nelson
here for more information!
organic farming research foundation -
orator plus, inc. -
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!
"Central Coast College has been a TPO member for 6
years and a client since 1996. How do you feel TPO
contributes to the college’s success?”
Robert Schaefer, President, Central Coast College:
provides us with both proactive, and as-needed regulatory
support to keep our employment practices legally sound while
fostering positive employee relationships. We look forward
to TPO’s Annual Conference each year, coming back with
leading edge HR knowledge and fresh information to keep our
employees motivated and inspired. The most important value
TPO adds is having on-the-spot access to Melissa Irwin and
TPO’s entire team of highly professional HR experts. TPO’s
sage advice helps us make better decisions so we can stay
focused on our students and core business.”
Central Coast College
Central Coast College was
founded in 1983 with 20 students, two staff members, and
only one program. Today, Central Coast College has an
enrollment of 200 and employs 20 full-time and part-time
staff, providing training in Computer Office Administration,
Computer Specialist: Accounting, Health Information and
Patient Services, Medical Assisting and Phlebotomy.
No-fee Placement Services:
We offer no-fee placement
services through our Career Services Office
firstname.lastname@example.org. Your job requirements
are carefully reviewed. We select the most qualified
graduates or students to meet your specific needs. Students
can be referred directly to you, resumes may be prescreened,
or you may even conduct interviews on our campus. We will
work with you to help meet your employment needs. Classes
graduate every 4-6 weeks to assist employers on an ongoing
Interns & Externs:
Internships are a part of
every Central Coast College student's training program.
Students with classroom experience are anxious to apply
their knowledge and skills in the workplace. You receive a
student with medical assisting or office skills to lend an
extra hand; the student gains experience and confidence and
you contribute to the education of a new generation of
employees; it's a win-win situation. Please contact our
Career Services Office,
email@example.com, for more information
on our internship program.
We offer training for your
employees. By providing an instructor at our site or yours,
we can help your employees learn new skills, new software or
to master the software they are currently using. Please
contact our Custom Training Coordinator,
firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Benito County Employers:
If you want to link to our
website, contact our webmaster at:
Webinar – 8/5/2011 10 AM – 11:30
ROI of HR: Top Measures for Business Cost $49 non NCHRA
Learn to define and use key measurements to demonstrate how
“human” resources make an excellent investment. Discover how
to measure individual processes, as well as enterprise-level
information. In addition to important specific measures, it
is important to realize that numbers are not the answer;
they only further define the question.
SPHR/PHR Certification Test
Preparation Course (Gilroy) 12-week course beginning 8/17
6-9 PM Cost $1040 non NCHRA members
Seminar -- 9/29/2011 9 AM – 3:30
Key Elements of a Successful HR Strategy Cost $329 non NCHRA members
Successful organizations spend time and money developing
organizational depth and "bench strength," guided by a
strategic agenda. Business professionals intimately involved
with people initiatives are poised to achieve company goals
in this area. Discover how to best leverage your unique
position to inform and support the strategic goals of your
Seminar -- 11/16/2011 9 AM –
Motivating and Retaining Employees: What They Really
Want Cost $329 non NCHRA members
It has become more challenging to ensure your employees are
satisfied in their positions. Are they motivated to do the
best job they can for your organization? Are they being
honest about their needs in the workplace?
If you find yourself taking stabs in the dark to develop
employee recognition and retention programs, this course is
California Certification Test
Preparation Course (Monterey – TPO Offices) 2-day course
12/2/2011-12/3/2011 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM Cost $625 non NCHRA
Seminar – 12/13/2011 9 AM - 3:30
Working Across Generations: We're Not So Different Cost
$329 non NCHRA members
Take an amusing, yet enlightening look at the differences
and similarities of today's workforce, and gain a better
understanding of what each generation needs from their
leaders. Specifically, you'll learn to:
Identify and work within different values and
Explain and live by "The Platinum Rule"
your communication messages appropriately
company conducts pre-employment drug screening. We just got
word that one of the applicants failed the test. When we
told them that, they promptly produced a Medical Marijuana
card. I think that we should not hire them due to the failed
drug test. However, my manager says that because Marijuana
is legalized in California for medicinal purposes that we
need to hire the person. Who is right?
SB 129 is approved in the near future, the California
Supreme Court gave very clear guidance to employers in the
2008 Ross v. Ragingwire Telecommunications, Inc. The court
said that the employer had legitimate interests in not
employing someone who uses illegal drugs, even if the
conduct was permitted under state criminal laws. Even if
state law makes a drug lawful for medicinal purposes,
nothing in FEHA precludes an employer from firing, or
refusing to hire, a person who uses an illegal drug.
In this case, the employer terminated the employee after 8
days of working, after it received positive results of the
pre-employment drug test. The court said that an employer is
not in violation of the law if they terminate an employee
who tests positive for marijuana, even if that employee has
a medical marijuana card. TPO’s recommendation is that an
employer who chooses to use pre-employment drug screen wait
for the result of the screen prior to putting the applicant
If SB 129 passes, it would prevent employers from firing, or
refusing to hire workers who use medical marijuana, as long
as they are not impaired on the job. Additionally under the
terms of pending SB 129, exceptions for employees who have a
prescription for medical marijuana would need to be made and
termination of any employee who uses marijuana at the
workplace, during working hours, or who is impaired during
working hours would be allowed. In the event SB 129 passes,
the challenge will be to determine, document and articulate
objectively, an impairment. TPO advises that employers focus
on the behaviors and performance of the employee without
drawing conclusions unless there in incontrovertible
evidence of drug use, i.e. directly observed and confirmed
As with most employment matters the issues of medical
marijuana in the workplace and pre-employment drug testing
are largely dependent upon employer preferences. If you
would like to discuss what policies and procedures are most
appropriate for your organization, please give TPO a call.
Article written by:
Robyn Schiller, SPHR-CA
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