n  2012 Employment Law and Leadership Conference Recap!

n  Training_Calendar

n  California Employment Essentials

n  W&H Quick Tip

n  TPO New Members

n  Injury, Harassment and Discrimination Investigations



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 March 01, 08, 15

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 29, April 05, 12, 19

Training Calendar

n FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance

March 08

n Harassment and Discrimination Prevention

May 15

External HR Support Briefing

n Join us for breakfast

March 28

This program is for ALL employers, including new & current TPO members and affiliates. Learn about options and alternatives available to employers considering the economies and efficiencies of external HR support for all or part of their employment-related demands – along with information about TPO’s highly successful membership model.

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With over two hundred attendees, the all-day TPO/Littler Conference on 1/11/12 was a raving success! The purpose of this article is to take 8 hours of in-depth information and boil it down here to 5 sections of critical “take-aways”!


  2. STRATEGIC ALIGNMENTSetting Priorities Provides Clarity for Us ALL (by TPO)

  3. EMPLOYMENT LAW & HR ROUNDTABLE Getting the Specific Answers You Need! (by Littler & TPO)

  4. ACCOMPLISHING MORE WITH LESS5 Productivity Principals for the Digital Age (by Pierre Khawand)

  5. HEALTH CARE REFORMand Managing the High Cost of Employee Benefits! (by Tony Bruscia)

Littler’s “Employment Law Update” –

With a slew of new laws for 2012, Marlene Muraco, Esq., Sr. Littler Partner and Dennis Brown, Esq., Sr. Littler Partner packed the morning with the latest employment law twists and turns to bring participants up to speed on the regulatory front!

New 2012 Laws

  • Wage Notifications - Requires an employer to provide each employee, at the time of hiring, with a notice that, among other things, 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.

    • Tip: Review current Q&A’s and access the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (DLSE) form by clicking here.

  • Commissions — Requires that all employers put commission agreements in writing by 1/1/13, clearly stating the method computed and paid. Employees must sign a receipt of the commission agreement, to be retained by the employer for at least 4 years.

    • Tip: 2013 will be here before we know it – start getting these in writing now!

  • Independent Contractors — Imposes new penalties for the willful misclassification of someone as an independent contractor, including posting of violations on company website in prominent location for 1 year.

    • Tip: The scrutiny of IC’s is nothing new, but the heat has been turned up! Review agreements to ensure meeting IC requirements.

  • Credit Checks — 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 exempt executive/managerial positions; employees of a city, county, or state Department of Justice; law enforcement; a position for which a report is required by law; and a few other very specific situations.

    • TPO Tip: TPO’s credit check authorization form has been revised – let us know if you would like our Director of Investigative Services (PI 25638) to perform a background and/or credit check! brianp@tpohr.com.

  • Insurance Premiums – Pregnancy Disability Leave – 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 months.

    • TPO Tip: TPO’s PDL Employee Handbook policies and PDL letters have been revised. If your policy is for less than 4 months of insurance continuation, your Handbook needs to be updated. In the meantime, click here to request a FREE sample memo that can be used NOW as an addendum to your Employee Handbook until your revised Employee Handbook is complete.

  • Organ and Bone Marrow Leave Clarification — Previous law went into effect 2011, providing that these leaves are PAID by employers with more than 15 employees for up to 30 and 5 days, respectively.

    SB 272 provides clarity: 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 that period.

    • TPO Tip: TPO’s Employee Handbook policies have been revised – and yours?

  • “Gender Expression” – 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.”

    • TPO Tips: TPO’s Employee Handbook policies have been revised – and yours? The new DFEH poster can be downloaded here.

Notable Court Cases

  1. Arbitration – Arbitration continues to be closely scrutinized, with current cases showing they are enforceable when correctly drafted.

    • Tip: Work with qualified Labor Law attorney to ensure any arbitration policies you have are up to current requirements.

  2. Class Action Lawsuits – It appears that the US Supreme Court is not in favor of large class action lawsuits, though CA courts may still disagree.

    • Tip: While the courts battle the details, remember that your employees read the newspapers – ensure proper employment practices!

  3. Salary, Non-Exempt Agreements – CA now is in line with Federal courts and allows for a salaried, non- exempt agreement that includes the hourly rate as well as a set amount of overtime.

    • Tip: The employee would still need to track all time actually worked to make sure that the salary covered the agreed upon amount of work; also, if the employee works more than the overtime in the agreement, s/he would need to be paid the additional overtime in addition to the salary.

  4. Additional Leave May be a Reasonable Accommodation – As a leave approaches the end of the legally allowed time, engage in an interactive process to determine how much more time off is requested and then determine if you can reasonably accommodate the request.

STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT– Setting Priorities Provides Clarity for Us ALL (by TPO)

LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA, TPO Sr. Consultant focused on the strategic process of first identifying the employer’s most important goals and priorities, so that information can then be aligned with department/team/individual goals and priorities. The result: a focus on top priorities to get critical things accomplished!


  1. Determine Top Organization Goals (TOGs): Mission, Vision and Values based.

  2. Align all Department/Team/Individual Goals to the TOGs: a “line-of-sight”!

  3. Engage individuals to meet their goals: help them see how they fit into the picture!

  4. Execute the plan to achieve the goals: ensure ownership, status reports and accountability!

“Land one plane at a time!”

EMPLOYMENT LAW & HR ROUNDTABLE – Getting the Specific Answers You Need! (by Littler & TPO)

Marlene Muraco, Esq., Sr. Littler Partner and Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO Sr. Consultant took “real-time” questions from the audience and then commented from both HR-legal and HR-leadership perspectives to give answers and advice. The sessions were dynamic with a few of the most popular topics including:


  • Breaks and Meals: An in depth review of the current status and employers’ risk-management options.

  • Pregnancy Disability Leave: Clarifying the new health insurance premium continuation requirement.

  • The new Wage Notification: Providing as much information as was currently available.

  • Drug Testing in CA: Discussing the pros/cons.

  • Exempt versus Non-Exempt: Explaining the 5 ways to be exempt and why employers should care.

  • Independent Contractors: Providing resource sources for employers to make a determination.

ACCOMPLISHING MORE WITH LESS – 5 Productivity Principals for the Digital Age (by Pierre Khawand)

Productivity expert Pierre Khawand, founder of People-OnTheGo, demonstrated breakthrough concepts and techniques that can help you and your team overcome the challenges of information overload, and work efficiently together to achieve the desired results. Participants learned how to a) manage focused and collaborative time b) take control of e-mail c) use collaboration technology more effectively, and d) accomplish more together!



Which tool
to use when?





HEALTH CARE REFORM – and Managing the High Cost of Employee Benefits! (by Tony Bruscia)

Tony Bruscia, provided a straight-forward, authoritative session about the complexities of Healthcare Reform (HCR), plus critical tips for reducing runaway costs and motivating your employees to make better healthcare decisions. While the legalities of HCR are argued in various courts, including the Supreme Court, employers must still know the Critical Path Timeline of action items to help you stay ahead of the compliance curve:

What you need to know now:

  • Grandfather Plan Status

  • Annual Lifetime Limits

  • Early Retiree Reinsurance Program

  • Employee Notices

  • OTC Medicines and Medical Supplies

  • Small Business Tax Credit

  • Medical Loss Ratio Limits

  • Rate Review


  • Uniform Coverage Documents

  • W-2 Reporting of Benefits Value: 2011 was optional; 2012 is required (for more than 250 W-2s)

2012 and beyond: FSA Contributions limits; New Taxes; 90 day max new hire wait; Health insurance exchanges open; Small employer tax credits; “Pay or Play”; Guarantee issue with no preexisting conditions; “Cadillac” tax and more!

CA Employment Essentials consists of six, three-hour training sessions of essential knowledge and skills every supervisor and manager needs to know to understand the company’s policy, employment regulations and the essentials of employee relations. CA Employment Essentials is an effective way to help ensure your company minimizes its exposure to liability and reduces the likelihood of managerial mis-steps.







Who Should Attend CEE?  YOU!

...if you are a new to HR or a prospective supervisor or manager;
...if you want to stay up to date with essential HR regulations and practices;
...if you want to preview the courses before sending the entire management team through;
...perfect for those who sent their team through the courses, but still have managers who haven’t attended!

Three full day sessions: March 01, 08, 15, 2012, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (lunch served!)

Seats still available, Click here!

“Comp. Time”
a good idea, but not for private employers!

Compensatory Time Off (Comp. Time) is where the employee works overtime but doesn't get paid for it and rather puts it in the “bank” for future use (days, weeks or months in the future). It is not an allowable practice for non-exempt employees in the private sector (it is allowable with some exclusions in the public sector).

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all time suffered or permitted to work, including at the overtime rate where applicable.

When a non-exempt employee incurs overtime, pay it in that pay period.

  • If you would then like to reduce hours worked later in the week/month (to stay on budgetary task for example), that is the employer’s option.

  • Similarly, if the employee would like to request working shorter hours in the coming week/month (to keep actual hours worked in check), the employer could consider the request and approve or deny.

 Two related issues:

  1. Make-Up Time: It is allowable for a non-exempt employee to request for their own personal reasons to work late one day and make it up in the same workweek; however it has to be in writing for each instance and time worked on any one day cannot exceed 11 hours. Again, make-up time cannot be at the request of the employer, only at the request of the employee for their own personal reasons. (a Make-up Time request form is in your HR Administrative Kit)

  2. Exempt Positions: The idea of an employee in an exempt position “earning” Comp. Time is generally not congruent with the nature of an exempt position. An exempt employee is paid to get the job done regardless of the number of hours worked; sometimes they work more, sometimes less, but the salary remains the same. Be careful of setting up the expectation of an employee in an exempt position earning Comp. Time. When exempt employees track actual hours worked it can lead to the perception that it might be a non-exempt position.

If you would like to discuss this issue further, please give your

TPO Representative a call!

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA



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!

Did you know that TPO is licensed by the State of California (PI-25638) to provide investigative services?

Not only do we offer years of experience, judgment and credentials – combined with the latest technology – to client investigations including alleged harassment, discrimination and malfeasance; we also work with our clients to reduce risk, liability and loss by creating solid policies and systems. TPO can investigate and analyze root causes, patterns and trends to reduce exposure and liability – and then recommend corrective actions.

Some of the situations that TPO-HR can help you with are:


• Discrimination   • Harassment
• Theft                • Workplace Relationships


• Pre-employment             • Promotions
• Contractors/Consultants


• Internal/External Theft   • Intellectual Property
• Computer Use               • IIPP


• Records                                • Research
• Special ”Discreet” Inquiries     • Skip Tracing

Don’t wait until a situation of discrimination, harassment or other malfeasance arises – give TPO a call to review your current policies, employee relations issues and overall prevention systems today!

For more information on TPO’s Investigative Services, please call us at 1-800-277-8448 or email info@tpohr.com.

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2012. 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.