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How California Employers
Change Their Operations in 2012!
NEW THIS YEAR:
Expanded morning legal update covering the myriad of major
new laws and regulations affecting California employers.
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TPO Team at the Ren Faire last month!
If not, morale decreases, teamwork can be compromised and
the bottom line can suffer! People like to accomplish a
meaningful job…with people they trust…and in a way that is
rewarding! The “FUN at Work Series” is more than just having
a good time; it is about pausing long-enough to re-engage
with your team, your job and your company’s vision!
Have you noticed that people are feeling stressed right now?
Each of these 1.5 to 3-hour sessions focuses on giving
employees necessary coping skills in a way that is fun and
COMMUNICATING WITH EACH
OTHER AT WORK
• WORKING TOGETHER AS A TEAM AT
• THE DYNAMICS OF CHANGE AT
• SOLVING PROBLEMS AT WORK
Contact TPO to talk about scheduling the Fun at Work Series
for your staff…you’ll be glad you did!
Too many times we hear in the
news a tragic story about violence in the workplace. And
always we think, "It can't happen here." Unfortunately it
can. What can employers do to create awareness of the
subject and an atmosphere of prevention? It can be very
difficult to know when a person is going to be violent.
While not all people will show the following signs, these
types of behaviors and physical signs can be warning signs
that a situation could turn violent. But remember to always
take these behaviors in context. Individually they may not
amount to much, but think twice if you see multiple warning
signs or signs of escalation. If you are concerned about a
person who shows some or all of these signs, take action.
Depending on the seriousness of what you witness, you may
choose to do any of the following:
Report the behavior to law
enforcement and ask them to assess whether or not this
would constitute a “credible threat” to your workplace
Investigate the extent of
the violence/misbehavior either internally or through an
external investigation firm
Talk with the employee
about the behavior and do a further assessment of your
risk with an outcome of any of the above, disciplinary
action or increasing your vigilance
In some cases, there has been
a clear pattern of warning signs before a violent incident.
Pay attention to:
History of Violence
Fascination with weapons,
acts of violence, or both
towards inanimate objects
Evidence of earlier
States intention to hurt
someone (verbal or written)
Excessive behavior (e.g.
phone calls, gift giving)
Escalating threats that
Displays unwarranted anger
Challenges peers and
Harassment of other
Increase in Personal
An unreciprocated romantic
Serious family or
Recent job loss
Recent diagnosis of
serious medical condition
Suspicious of others
Believes he/she is
entitled to something
Cannot take criticism
Shows a lack of concern
for the safety or well-being of others
Blames others for his
problems or mistakes
Conveys feeling of
Marked Changes in Mood
Extreme or bizarre behavior
Irrational beliefs and ideas
Appears depressed or expresses hopelessness or heightened
Marked decline in work performance
Unusually poor attendance for undisclosed reasons
History of negative interpersonal relationships
Few family or friends
Sees the company as a "family"
Has an obsessive involvement with his or her job
Abuses Drugs (prescription or
illegal) or Alcohol
Include a Violence in the Workplace Policy in your
employee handbook and provide training on the subject. And
remember, employers have a legal obligation to provide
employees with a safe workplace for their employees.
Have a Zero Tolerance approach to any threat of violence and
investigate quickly, effectively and thoroughly. TPO is an
investigatory firm – give us a call if you are assessing
your ability to conduct an internal investigation or if you
want to hire an external expert in such matters.
Let TPO help
you with creating a Violence in the Workplace policy,
and provide training at your location!
Article written by:
Kathrine Parsons, SPHR-CA
Governor Brown decided the
fate of nearly 500 bills before the October 9th
deadline…many impacting employment in CA! While many of the
specific details of the new laws are yet to be worked out,
the status of important employment-related bills is as
Law by Governor Jerry Brown
Premiums – Pregnancy Disability Leave (SB 299)
Requires employers to
maintain and pay for health insurance premiums for an
employee who is on Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL)
under the same conditions that coverage would have been
provided if the employee had continued in employment
during the PDL leave. PDL is for the amount of the
pregnancy-related disability, up to a maximum of 4
“Gender Expression” (AB 887) – Includes
“gender expression” under the Fair Employment and
Housing Act, defined as “a person’s gender-related
appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically
associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”
Organ and Bone Marrow Leave Clarification (SB 272)
— Provides employers with clarity on these mandatory
leaves, including that: 1) the one-year period
referenced in the statute is 12 consecutive months from
the date of the employee’s request for leave, not a
calendar year, 2) the days of leave are business days,
as opposed to calendar days, and 3) the benefits of an
employee must be maintained at the same level during the
paid leave, as if he/she had continued to work during
Wage Notifications (AB469) — Requires an
employer to provide each employee, at the time of
hiring, with a notice that specifies the rate and the
basis, whether hourly, salary, commission, or otherwise,
of the employee’s wages and to notify each employee in
writing of any changes to the information set forth in
the notice within seven calendar days of the changes
unless such changes are reflected on a timely wage
statement or another specified writing.
Credit Checks (AB 22) — Limits employers’
ability to use consumer credit reports to only where the
information contained in the report is “substantially
job-related,” which is narrowly defined to 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.
Commissions (AB 1396) — Requires that all
employers put commission agreements in writing, clearly
stating the method computed and paid. Employees must
sign a receipt of the commission agreement, to be
retained by the employer.
Commission defined per the text of the law:
“Commissions does not include short-term productivity
bonuses such as are paid to retail clerks; and it does
not include bonus and profit-sharing plans, unless there
has been an offer by the employer to pay a fixed
percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work
to be performed.”
Independent Contractors (SB 459) — Imposes
new penalties for the willful misclassification of
someone as an independent contractor.
IRS Voluntary Classification Settlement Program:
Employers that choose to voluntarily
reclassify their independent contractors as employees
for federal tax purposes and may be eligible to pay a
fee covering a portion of their past payroll obligations
and can escape certain tax liability for improper
misclassification under the IRS's new Voluntary
Classification Settlement Program (VCSP). Employers
interested in participating in the VCSP can apply by
filing Form 8952, Application for Voluntary
Classification Settlement Program, at least 60 days
before the employer wishes to treat the workers as
Farm Labor Contractors Itemized Statements (AB 243)
— requires that the written statement include the name
and address of the legal entity that secured the
employer’s services in addition to the currently
required semimonthly itemized statement.
Minors Employed in Agricultural Packing Plants (AB1398)
— extends the exception to hours now allowed for this
employment in Lake County and modifies the reporting
required for the same.
Agricultural Labor Relations Procedural Revisions
(SB126) — changes and clarifies procedural
matters where Unfair Labor Practices have been
identified and the resulting legal review mediation or
Unemployment Insurance in the Motion Picture Industry
(AB55) — Extends the current UI requirements
for this industry beyond the original repeal dates of
January 1, 2012.
Gender/Sexual Orientation Protection in Contracts
(SB117) — Extends coverage of the current law
prohibiting state entities from contracting with any
organization that does not provide same health benefits
coverage for a domestic partner as for a spouse to
include any contractor that discriminates on the basis
of the gender or sexual orientation of an employee’s
spouse or partner.
Check Bill (SB 104)
If passed, would have
eliminated the secret ballot election and replaced it
with the submission of representation cards signed by
over 50% of the employees. Bill Status: Vetoed by
Bereavement Leave (AB 325) — If passed, would
have required employers to provide an employee with up
to three days of unpaid bereavement leave. Bill
Status: Vetoed by Governor.
Medical Marijuana (SB 129) — If passed, would
have prevented 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 have required 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 have been allowed. Bill Status: Failed
Payroll Cards (AB 51) — If passed, would have
put restrictions on the use of payroll cards. Bill
Status: Failed Deadline.
Pending HR Legislation
Automatic IRA Act of 2011 (S. 1557) - Would
establish an automatic individual retirement account
(IRA) enrollment program for employees at firms with
more than 10 employees that do not already offer
retirement plans. Employees could contribute to these
IRAs on a voluntary basis through automatic payroll
deductions and employers would be provided a $250 tax
credit for each of the first two years of the program’s
operation to offset costs associated with its
establishment. Bill Status: Referred to Committee.
Wounded Veteran Job Security Act (H.R. 2875)
- Would amend the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to prohibit acts of
discrimination and reprisal against an employee who is
absent from work to receive medical treatment for a
service-connected illness, injury or disability.
Bill Status: Referred to Committee.
Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act (H.R. 2364, S.
1283) - Would expand the Family and Medical
Leave Act (FMLA) coverage to a same-sex spouse, domestic
partner, grandparent, grandchild, parent-in-law, son- or
daughter-in-law, child of a domestic partner, or adult
child or sibling who has a serious health condition.
Bill Status of Both: Referred to Committee.
Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act (H.R. 1440)
– Would expand 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:
Referred to Committee.
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: Referred
Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1519, S. 797) and the Fair
Pay Act (H.R. 1493, S. 788) - Would amend the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to promote pay equity.
Bill Status: Referred to 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:
Referred to Committee.
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.
Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act (S.
1196) - Like the House employment immigration
bill (H.R. 2000), the Senate version would require all
employers to use the E-Verify electronic employment
verification system, increase employer penalties for
violations of immigration law, and eliminate the current
Form I-9 process. Bill Status: Referred to
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
…the challenges of being flexible!
Your employees want you to
understand that they have busy lives where flexible work
schedules could help them achieve a better work-life
You do understand,
however, that for private employers in California,
flexibility sometimes comes with painful consequences.
Such is the case for many employers when they “thought” they
had an alternative workweek, only to find that
the formal procedures were not followed to the “T.”
The end result: no alternative
workweek, but a lot of back pay for unpaid overtime due!
Most CA private employers must pay overtime for any time
worked in excess of 8 hours in a day. Where employers and
employees want to work 4, 10-hour days a week (for example),
that is only allowed when the specific provisions are
A common error is to go through all the steps (to the right)
with the exception of mailing the results to the Division of
Labor Statistics and Research. When this is the case, the
payroll records clearly show the hours between 8 and 10 as
needing to be paid overtime - often for years at a time!
DLSE has a new on-line database that is cited as being,
organization doesn’t come up in the database, some research
is going to need to be done to determine your best next
step! Ouch…not so flexible!
help create (or recreate) correctly implemented
Alternative Workweeks – give us
Article written by:
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA
children center -
cellars, LLC -
san luis obispo
convalescent hospital -
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!
"Armanasco Public Relations has been a TPO member for
over 8 years. How do you feel TPO contributes to your
David Armanasco, President:
contributes to our success by providing us with the
information and tools to help guide us through the
specialized world of human resources. They are truly the
experts! The Annual Employers Conference enlightens our firm
on the changing laws, and cuts through the legalese so it
makes sense and helps us understand how they affect our
business. The yearly updates help ensure we have the tools
we need to manage our team, and the one-on-one support is
essential when dealing with employee issues big and small.
Having TPO on our team lets us focus less time on the
administration needed to run a small business and more time
on our clients. The relationship and partnership with TPO
has been invaluable and has allowed us to grow to become the
largest full service public relations firm on the Central
Armanasco Public Relations, Inc.
Established in 1985 by David
Armanasco, Armanasco Public Relations, Inc (APR) is an
associate of Hill & Knowlton, Inc., one of the world’s
leading public relations firms. APR has grown to become the
largest privately owned public relations firm on
California’s Central Coast. APR’s client roster cuts across
a variety of industries, including agriculture, foodservice,
education, hospitality, real estate development and
utilities. Services include: public affairs, community
relations, strategic planning, marketing communications and
To learn more visit
www.armanasco.com or call 831.372.2259.
The Northern CA Human Resource
Association (NCHRA) provides training opportunities for HR
professionals. TPO has facilitated many of their programs
with the following upcoming opportunities:
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
employees spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social
sites. I am worried about claims of harassment not to
mention complaining about our company for everyone to read.
What can I do about all of that?
That is a lot of stuff in three sentences. I’m going to
break it down into the different areas so that it is a bit
more digestible. Any one of these areas could easily involve
much more conversation, but this should at least help.
Employees spending time on
Facebook – You didn’t say whether or not it was at work,
but that is one potential problem area. Some employers
don’t have a problem with employees spending a
reasonable amount of time on social sites during the day
and some are not able to allow it due to business
demands. Each employer must determine the tolerance
level of the organization for using company time to
interact in this way. There are both advantages and
disadvantages to allowing it. You should have a clear
policy in your handbook about what your requirements are
in terms of computer use keeping the following in mind:
Employers have the right to require
employees to spend all paid time on business
activities other than required paid breaks for
Computer equipment, internet access,
etc. all belong to the employer and the employer may
restrict how those are used by employees.
If you put a lot of restrictions on
employee behavior, you then have to monitor it and
enforce your requirements.
Harassment online --
Although an employer cannot be responsible for
employees’ behavior outside the workplace and work
hours, what “Happens in Vegas doesn’t
Stay in Vegas” as
we all know. If employees are having such interactions
in the evenings or on their off time, that becomes a
problem if it spills into the workplace. Employers
should remind employees that they are held to certain
standards when working together regardless of their
activities outside of company time or premises. Drawing
a clear distinction between personal time and business
time behavior should be done in your Harassment Policy
in the handbook and appropriate workplace behavior
emphasized without getting into the personal lives of
employees. Remember, they can always “UnFriend” the
Complaining about company
– First, keep in mind that the opposite can also happen.
Employees can also rave about great companies. I’m sure
your first choice would be to get that distinction. Some
employees, however, will inevitably be unhappy with any
company. Things to consider include the following:
If an employee is complaining about
an employer on one of the sites like Facebook where
the information is not truly public since only
certain people are able to view what someone posts,
that is not unlike having them bad-mouth you at
The same sorts of rules apply as with
any “free speech” outlet. Employees can certainly
voice discontent privately, but are limited by the
laws regarding libel and/or slander.
You should include in your handbook
policy additional language noting that employee may
not represent that they are speaking for the company
and that employees may not disclose any confidential
information as well as a prohibition against posting
any pictures, recordings, etc. made on company
premises without prior permission.
If you have concerns that any of the above lines have been
crossed, you may want to consult an attorney. If you need
assistance with developing policies for your handbook,
contact your TPO Consultant. TPO can also come to your
workplace and meet with your employees to discuss what is
“inbounds” or “out of bounds” with their online presence.
Article written by:
LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA
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