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: March 6
& May 14

MES Begins: April 9

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:

1) Excelling as a     Supervisor/Manager:     June 19

2) Dealing with Difficult      People: August 12

TPO brings you periodic briefings presented by knowledgeable subject matter experts on a variety of timely employment topics.

Dates of Upcoming Briefings:

Auditing Your HR Function: May 22

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:

Managing Performance Coaching: March 12

Managing Performance Evaluating: April 9

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: March 26
& June 11

Spanish Language Harassment & Discrimination Prevention: 
May 8


TENTH ANNUAL TPO/Littler Employment Law and Leadership Conference
Benefiting the Monterey County SPCA
To donate go to:

With over 250 participants, the all-day TPO/Littler Conference on 1/23/14 was another resounding 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"!

      by Marlene Muraco, Esq. and Michael Warren, Esq.

2. WAGE & HOUR BOOTCAMP: Keeping Your Boot Out of Your Mouth!
      by Michael Warren, Esq. of Littler

3. HR LEGAL & HR LEADERSHIP: Balancing Both Legal & HR Perspectives!
      by Marlene Muraco, Esq. of Littler & Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

    How to Have a Bigger Impact in your Organization!

      by Dr. David Gerard, Ph.D., Principal Consultant, Korn/Ferry International

5. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: Not Just Another HR Buzz-Phrase!
      by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA of TPO

Congratulations to the
Grand Prize Winners

Drawn from the evaluations with all eight stamps marked by our Exhibitor Showcase affiliates:

California Employment Essentials:
Chamberlain's Children Services

Management Excellence Series:
Marich Confectioners

Here is a sampling of the great feedback we received on the scores of Program Evaluations:

"I want to congratulate your firm for a great seminar.
  I really enjoyed it.

"This was the most informative and upbeat
  class/seminar I've ever attended.
"Fabulous once again!"
"A great conference!"
"Excellent as usual!"
"Very pleased with TPO services and support."
"Great conference! It gets better every year!"
"The information I learned is so valuable."
"Great energy, enthusiasm and information. Well done."
"We are Happy to be Members and very thankful."



by Marlene Muraco, Esq. and Michael Warren, Esq.

Marlene and Michael packed the morning session with a wealth of information; creating a roadmap for employers to better understand new laws and cases impacting employment actions for 2014. Following is a recap of their 2.5 hours of presentation.


  1. Minimum Wage: Will increaseto $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and then $10 per hour on January 1, 2016.
    • CA Exempt salary threshold also increases: The CA salary threshold for the executive, administrative, or professional exemptions will increase to $720 per week ($37,440 per year) on July 1, 2014, and $812 per week ($42,224 per year) on January 1, 2016.
  2. Driver's License: Undocumented persons who can prove identity and CA residency and meet all other licensing requirements, such as the written and behind-the-wheel exams, may obtain a document for "driving privileges." Prior to January 1, 2015 deadline (or earlier if declared by the DMV) employers hope to have clarification on whether the card will be able to be used for the identity section of the I-9 process.
  3. Immigration-Related Status: Where employees update their personal information, for example providing a new social security card/number, employers may not retaliate for such an update.
  4. EDD's Paid Family Leave Insurance (PFL or FTDI): Beginning July 1, 2014, will be expanded to include providing partial wage replacement to employees who are authorized take time off to care for a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling or parent-in-law.
  5. Crime Victims: Expands current regulations to include additional reasons an employee can take time off to appear in court, including when the "victim" is the employees spouse, parent, child, sibling or guardian.
  6. Stalking Victims: Expands current regulations by allowing stalking victims time off to attend judicial proceedings and requires reasonable accommodation to ensure safety at work.
  7. Pre-Employment Questions: Prohibits questions about convictions that were judicially dismissed or ordered sealed. Revise your applications to indicate applicants not disclose this information.
  8. Discrimination: Expanded from prohibiting discrimination on "veteran status" to discrimination on "military or veteran status."
  9. Harassment: The regulations now specifically state that sexual harassment need not be motivated by sexual desire.


  1. San Francisco:
    1. The minimum wage will increase to $10.74 on January 1, 2014, and
    2. employers must consider requests for flexible working arrangements to assist with care-giving responsibilities.
  2. San Jose: The minimum wage will increase to $10.15 per hour on January 1, 2014.
  3. Outdoor Workers: Must be given access to shade and rest to avoid heat illness when temperatures are above 85°. Failure to provide the "recovery period" will result in paying one-hour of penalty pay.
  4. State and Local Employers: Prohibited from asking an applicant to disclose information regarding criminal convictions until the agency has determined applicant meets minimum employment qualifications for the position. Effective July 1, 2014.


  1. "Pregnant Probationary No-Call, No-Show Bus Driver Crashes the Bus" (Harris v. City of Santa Monica). Lessons:
    • Make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing!
    • Don't promote people who don't meet qualifications!
    • Be careful of "the cat's paw" (decision makers who rely on the input from managers who may be biased)!
    • Train managers to keep their mouth shut!

  2. "When 4 months doesn't mean 4 months!" Lessons for CA employers:
    • While Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) is exhausted after 4 months of pregnancy-related disability, the employer may still be obligated to PAUSE, engage in an interactive process, and determine if additional leave might be a reasonable accommodation. Note: short durations may still be a "disability" under CA requirements.

  3. Arbitration and Class Action Waivers: Work closely with your labor law attorney for correctly written and defendable agreements….and be aware that the NLRB is still fighting them.
  4. Piece Rate: Rather than paying piece rate and if not at least minimum wage, now employers should pay minimum wage with a bonus for anything over AMOUNT
  5. Rest and Meal Breaks in CA: Ensure employees can leave the premises; modify your employee handbook accordingly.
  6. Facebook "like": CA prohibits adverse action based on any lawful off-duty conduct that does not create a conflict of interest.
  7. "Take a Seat": The CA Supreme Court has been asked to give an opinion on the CA Wage Order requirement of providing "suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats." This will likely impact positions such as cashiers and others, where being seated may not be customary but could be reasonable.

For the Littler Update Program Handouts, go to:


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by Michael Warren, Esq. of Littler

Michael presented a fast paced, information-packed session on Littler's Top 10 Wage and Hour Tips! He focused on what employers need to know about wage and hour compliance in 2014 by staying ahead of significant wage and hour risks to prevent expensive (avoidable!) litigation. Michael's Top 10 Tips are listed below:

  1. Don't assume you're in compliance. Do an audit!
  2. Train your people.
  3. Maintain and archive your time and payroll records.
  4. Don't take a break implementing your breaks!
  5. Do not take improper deductions and pay on time.
  6. Take another look at your paystubs.
  7. Ensure your "independent contractors" are truly independent and contractors.
  8. Be careful not to misclassify an employee as exempt from overtime.
  9. Use a time card certification system.
  10. Ensure you track all work performed by non-exempt employees.

Michael received extremely positive reviews for this jam-packed program! To review/download the PowerPoint Presentation from this program, go to:

Did you know that TPO has a comprehensive HR auditing system that assists clients to ensure Labor Law compliance?

TPO also has an extensive array of professional development and training programs. See that your leaders receive the critical training they need to build their managerial and regulatory skills and to help your operation reduce employer risk. Click here to access our training & development programs scheduled for 2014! We also offer customized on-site classes based on unique client needs.

For more information on any of Michael's tips or TPO's extensive services, contact a TPO certified HR Consultant today!

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Balancing Both Legal and HR Perspectives!

by Marlene Muraco, Esq. and Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA of TPO

Marlene and Melissa engaged the audience in their usual balancing act while they took questions from the audience and provided their comments, thoughts and recommendations…often with a bit of humor to add some levity to an area of business that is often frustrating for those administering the HR function! Kudos to the many participants who stayed in the room for BOTH break-out sessions, one stating, "I didn't know there were so many questions I should have thought to ask!"

Some of the more common themes that emerged in their recommendations:

  1. Focus on Performance! Number one priority. Period. The more you can show how the employee's performance rated against the work performance factors, the more you can deflect claims of partiality, unfairness and even discrimination.
  2. Documentation is Key! By documenting (in writing) the issue, you can more clearly communicate it to the employee and, if needed in the future, provided it as your proof of the appropriate employment-related discussion.
  3. PAUSE! Rarely do employment decisions need to be made immediately. It is always okay to "pause" the discussion and agree to a time/date to reconvene to better analyse the situation. This usually results in a more level-headed, fact-based defensible decision that can be communicated more effectively to the employee at the appropriate time.
  4. Know Your Role! You are not the employee's healthcare provider (so don't give medical advice or make medical assumptions). You are not the employee's Workers' Compensation Claims Adjuster (so don't give your opinion on whether injury/illness is work-related). You CAN provide "care and concern" in getting the employee back to work within healthcare provider recommendations AND while ensuring the functions of the job can be performed.
  5. Employment Laws are Like Speed Limit Signs! You can go over the speed limit (your car will let you), but are you willing to take on that risk? Weigh the pros and cons and make a business decision you can stand by.

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How to Have a Bigger Impact on Your Organization

by David Gerrard, Ph.D.

David Gerard, Ph.D. and Principal Consultant with Korn/Ferry International presented an interactive overview of how to break through the barriers and amplify your influence at work. Dr. Gerard engaged session goers through live practice and feedback to help build respect, credibility and interpersonal savvy required to produce lasting results. He focused on the following KEY COMPETENCIES everyone needs to develop to have an impact and overcome challenges. Dr. Gerard emphasized the importance of:

with the Three Targets of Influence: Direct Reports – Boss – Peers. You will find the session handouts at: for more detailed information

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Not Just Another HR Buzz-Phrase!

by Chris Hawkins, SPHR-CA

"Are you Engaged?" Nearly 100 attendees at TPO's 10th Annual Employment Law & Leadership Conference got "engaged" learning how to identify values and motivators of their employees. We discussed how to A.I.M. at the right hiring target, hire the ideal candidates, and keep them engaged in their roles and connected to your business. Employee engagement is just one component of a successful Talent Management Process, but it is perhaps the most important step in motivating, developing and retaining your top talent.

Employee Engagement explores and answers these and other important questions to help businesses and non-profit organizations create a dynamic engaged work force that promotes a positive company culture and produces results! To review/download the PowerPoint Presentation from this program, go to:

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Rodney Meeks, Vice President

"Credit Consulting Services, Inc. is a new TPO member as of October 2013. How do you feel TPO has contributed to the company's success so far?"

"Hiring TPO is one of the best things I have ever done. I now have my own HR Director who has big corporation experience for a fraction of the costs. We began using our membership benefits immediately and it paid off. Since hiring TPO we have done the following,


Credit Consulting Services, Inc. is an accounts receivable management firm that provides solutions for reducing bad debt and improving overall cash flow. Established in 1970, CCS has a long rich history of successfully implementing recovery programs for a variety of industries that include healthcare, government, education, utilities, financial and professional services, and commercial/B2B just to name a few. Whether you are a large or small business CCS has the resources to help you improve your cash flow. For more information go to:

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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!
Thank you for joining!

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