TPO's Employment Update


n  Legislative Update

n  Succession Planning - Part III of IV

n  Welcome New Members

n  Member Spotlight

n  HR Rumors

n  TPO Summer Special



Summer Special!

Have you been putting off important employment training?

This summer, make it a priority and take advantage of TPO’s Summer Special!

$100 off July CEE and August MES programs!


Buy 2 seats at the regular price and get 50% off the third seat for someone in your organization!

Click Here for more information!


Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials (HR101)

- 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 July '07

n Sept-Oct '07

Management Excellence Series

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

n August '07

n Oct - Nov '07

Job Descriptions

This comprehensive 4-hour workshop includes TPO's popular Job Description Development Program designed to assist employers in developing current, state-of-the-art, and ADA & FEHA compliant Job Descriptions.
n November 6

Specialized Workshops

n Harassment & Discrimination at Work  July 17

n FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance  Aug 16

n Workers' Compensation Management Sep 19

n Excelling as a First Time Manager Oct 18


Minimum Wage – Both the House and the Senate approved a measure that will raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from $5.15 in three stages over two years.

All California employers must post both the federal and state minimum wage posters. There are no citations or penalties for failure to post the federal minimum wage poster. A new posting will be available when the new minimum wage goes into effect. You can simply cover up the outdated version with the downloaded form, which will not be available until mid-July.

TPO will happily email the cover-up sheet to our poster purchasers and members. To request a notice when available or if you have any questions, please contact TPO (by clicking here).

Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity Discrimination – This proposed legislation if passed would prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals because of an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The measure would also forbid retaliation against an individual who complained about employment practices prohibited under the bill. The bill includes an exemption for religious organizations.

California, sixteen other states, and the District of Columbia already have their own laws on the books prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Plus, a handful of states—including California—have laws against gender-identity discrimination in the workplace.

Pay-Bias Ruling – Congressional Democrats in reaction to a recent Supreme Court ruling proposed legislation that if passed would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and effectively give workers more time to file a complaint alleging pay discrimination under the law.

The Supreme Court had ruled 5-4 that the deadline for workers to file a pay-bias complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is 180 days from the date the decision on their pay is made and communicated to them. The question before the Supreme Court was whether the clock on that 180 days restarts each time an employee receives a paycheck that reflects past discrimination. The court ruled that it didn't.

The lawmakers say their legislation will state expressly that the statute of limitations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 runs from the date of each payment of a discriminatory wage.


Paid Family Leave (SB 727) – Would expand Paid Family Leave (PFL), a wage replacement insurance program administered by the Employment Development Department, to the employee’s grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, and siblings.

Workers’ Compensation (AB 338) – Would undermine the workers' compensation reform passed in 2004 that reduced premiums to virtually all employers throughout the state by increasing the number of weeks benefits can be paid and changes the medical treatment guidelines.

Wages (AB 435) – This bill if passed would require employers to maintain wage and job classification records for 5 years, rather than the 2 that are currently required. This bill would also extend the statute of limitations for an employee to bring a civil action against an employer to recover wages from 2 to 4 years for a civil action, and from 3 to 5 years for actions in which there is willful misconduct of the employer.

CA Family Rights Act (AB 537) – This bill would increase the circumstances under which an employee is entitled to protected leave pursuant to the Family Rights Act by (1) eliminating the age and dependency elements from the definition of "child," thereby permitting an employee to take protected leave to care for his or her independent adult child suffering from a serious health condition, (2) expanding the definition of "parent" to include an employee's parent-in-law, and (3) permitting an employee to also take leave to care for a seriously ill grandparent, sibling, grandchild, or domestic partner, as defined.

Employment Records (AB 1707) – This bill if passed would require employers to maintain employment records for 4 years after termination, and would require employers to provide inspection and copies of all documents within 21 days of a request made by a current or former employee, or their representative.

Independent Contractors (SB 622) – This bill if passed would attempt to prohibit deliberate and willful misclassification of employees as independent contractors by employers. It would authorize the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to assess specified civil penalties against those in violation of the bill and would also authorize employees who suffer actual harm to bring actions for these civil penalties.

Discrimination (SB 836) – This bill if passed would add “familial status” to the list of prohibited bases for employment discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).


TPO’s Melissa Irwin first among CA HR professionals to earn the California Certification in Human Resources.

Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, Senior Consultant/ Training Specialist with TPO recently earned a state-specific certification in California to add to her current Senior Professional in Human Resources designation (SPHR-CA). Melissa has been certified as a Professional in Human Resources since 1997, and received her Senior designation in 2003.

The certification, awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), signifies that Melissa possesses the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that is necessary to pass a rigorous examination on the human resources body of knowledge in the state of California. The exam covers such workplace issues as compensation and benefits; employee and labor relations; leaves of absence and workers’ compensation; and workplace health, safety and security concerns. This is the first-ever California–specific certification to ensure HR professionals have the means to demonstrate their knowledge of the state’s unique employment laws.

“Because of the diverse demographics that employers face when working in the state, and the unique legal compliance and practice requirements, this new certification will be critical in determining an HR practitioner’s professional competence with California law,” said HRCI Executive Director Cornelia Springer, CAE. There are many issues, such as overtime, pregnancy leave, and labor relations where California law is more generous than federal regulations. Understanding the differences in state and federal law is critical since employers are required to follow the law that is more generous toward the employee.

Melissa will continue her successful twelve-year track record as a TPO Consultant, providing sound, relevant HR consulting, with a demonstrated understanding of California’s unique employment landscape.


Retaining Your Best -

“I want my contributions to truly make a difference to the success of my employer! Knowing the vision and mission has given me the ability to set and re-set my priorities, efforts, and development to achieve professional success in our changing environment.”

Succession Planning – Part III of IV

It doesn’t matter how great a company’s product or service is if the customer delivery isn’t right. It requires the right people to make an organization successful. Surveys by consulting organizations like Towers Perrin have shown consistently over the past five years the number one reason employees leave organizations is likely to be they don’t feel the work they do is worthwhile or contributing to the organization’s success.

Through similar surveys, we know that the reason people are unhappy in one job and happy in another has more to do with organizational culture fit than with the specific tasks they perform. Executives and front line workers alike want to fit into the culture and know that their job is important in meeting the vision.

Developing and Communicating a Vision

During the time that Total Quality Management was in its heyday, organizations frequently worked very hard to develop a Vision and Mission Statement and, possibly, even a set of Corporate Values. Each of these was included in the company employee handbook and a copy provided to employees when they were hired.

Unfortunately, these were not always updated to meet changing circumstances and not used as the guideposts they were intended to be. Providing a living set of documents that employees can use as a yardstick to measure success is important. Framed copies of vague and unclear creative writing pieces do not provide that opportunity. Each employee should be able to look at the Vision when making decisions and ask, “Will what I am doing move us closer to this?”

Organizations that have not revisited their guiding documents should do so with such an outcome in mind. Ken Blanchard recommends organizations have a list of values in hierarchical order. This allows employees to make decisions among competing claims on time and other resources.

Identifying the Needed Skills and Competencies

Once the organization’s leadership is clear on the direction of the organization and the priorities to make it happen, it is possible to identify competencies required to be successful. There are systems available from HR professionals to integrate competencies from recruitment through career development to create a consistency in the organization and improve performance towards the goals identified.

As we have previously discussed, cultural competencies are the most important part of keeping employees engaged and satisfied. Each position in the organization will have slightly different individual competencies even though there are shared organizational competencies. For example, an employee who started with an organization that had a vision about cutting edge technology would need a competency in ability to work in a changing environment. If the employee started out as a customer service representative, he/she would also need strong communication skills. As the employee moved into a leadership role, it would be important to develop a competency in directing employee behavior.

A system should be implemented by organizations to identify the appropriate corporate competencies as well as any that would be specific to the position.

Providing the Right Experiences

The question comes up, “How on earth do we help develop competencies?”

There are three ways to develop competencies for employees to allow them to move into other roles in the organization:

1. Formal Training – Leadership training in content such as clear communication, style recognition and flex, time management and other important “soft skills” can provide an excellent basis with a body of knowledge and set of tools to use. This can be provided in house or from an external source. Having consistency among the leadership so that a common language is used helps build clarity of direction.

2. Mentoring/Coaching – When employees are exercising the tools and information learned in the formal training opportunities, it is important for them to get quick and appropriate feedback. If there are employees who are already highly skilled in these areas, they can act as mentors for employees who need that feedback. Institutionalizing this system sends a message that it is OK to ask for assistance. This overcomes the fear that the employee will be seen as deficient if he/she asks for assistance.

3. Cross-training/Experiential Learning - With organizations requiring more and more that employees be flexible and understand all areas of the organization, this is a very important part of the program. Employees must not only be given opportunities to “try out” different areas of the organization, but encouraged to do so. Good examples of this method are organizations that bring in “trainees” and allow them to experience each area of the organization before identifying where they are a best fit.

Recognizing Employee Success

As Dr. Stephen Covey reminds us, it is important to “Start with the End in Mind.” The reason organizations provide these opportunities and tools is to make it possible to meet the Vision of the organization. Employees must see that taking advantage of all of these opportunities and practicing the skills will pay off.

It is important that the employee know his/her contribution is making a real difference in how the organization is meeting goals. The recognition should be institutionalized and consistent. It is critical to remember that what is rewarded is what you get.

Developing employee recognition programs can be difficult, but a very important outcome. It is true that employees get a very large “reward” for feeling like they are making a difference in how well the organization does. Reinforcing that feeling through tangible actions helps to maintain the behavior.


Organizations that are concerned about the shortage of excellent employees, which we are all facing in the next few years as the baby boomers retire, need to act now.

It is difficult, as shown in the previous article, to identify and recruit the right people. It is critical to do so as the first article in this series pointed out. No organization can afford to lose the good people it has worked hard to get. Integrated Career Development is the answer to the question about how to retain the best in the organization.

Missed Part I and Part II of the Series? Click here to read TPO's previous newsletters.

n Collier Pet Feed & Supply

n City of Sand City

n Fresh Start Advantage

n Ave Maria Convalescent Hospital

n Steven W. Harrison, MD., Inc.

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!

CHISPA: TPO MEMBER SINCE June 2003 (Client since 1995)

TPO: “CHISPA been a TPO member for over 4 years, and a client since 1995. How do you feel TPO contributes to CHISPA’s success?”

Trish Huels (CHISPA’s Director of Administration): “As a nonprofit organization with 60 employees between CHISPA and two subsidiaries, a construction company and a property management company that is covered under a collective bargaining agreement, we have had some challenging and unique human resource issues over the years. TPO staff has listened to our concerns, served as a sounding board, and offered practical advice and solutions to each situation that has arisen.

TPO has also been a great source of information and training for our employees and management staff, from the mandatory Harassment & Discrimination training to basic labor law (California Employment Essentials) for supervisors and management training (Management Excellence Series).

Alfred Diaz-Infante, President/CEO

Whether assisting with special projects such as harassment investigations, revision of policies, compensation studies of similar organizations, or providing training and consulting services, Jill, Robert and the TPO staff have provided an invaluable service that is greatly appreciated.”


CHISPA (Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Community-based Housing Development Organization (CHDO) operating on the Central Coast of California.

CHISPA is overseen by a nine-member Board of Directors with diverse backgrounds and experience in real estate, law, property management, social services, and the education, and business. CHISPA Board members all reside and work in different areas of Monterey County and most also serve on Boards of other community-based nonprofit organizations.

As the largest private, nonprofit housing developer in Monterey County, CHISPA has completed more than 1,900 affordable single family, multi-family and senior housing units since it’s incorporation in 1980. While these developments have provided housing for more than 7,400 people, there is still a great need for more affordable housing in Monterey County and throughout the State of California.

CHISPA’s mission is “To enhance the quality of life and create socially and economically healthy living environments on the Central Coast of California by developing, owning and managing rental housing, by providing home ownership opportunities for very-low, low and moderate-income people and by revitalizing neighborhoods” and encompasses more than just building housing units; CHISPA also integrates community service programs, in collaboration with other community service agencies, at their rental developments to best serve CHISPA residents.

In addition to providing affordable housing opportunities to very-low, low, and moderate-income households, CHISPA has also contributed more than $128 million to the local economy over the last 25 years in construction costs alone.

To learn more about CHISPA, visit their website at:

HR Rumors: Get Your Facts Straight from the Experts!


We have a diverse employee population and are issuing a new Employee Handbook. Do I need to translate my employee handbook into Spanish?



According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. is the 4th largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. U.S. Census data indicates that immigration is expected to continue from Latin America and other countries to the U.S., with a labor shortfall of some 10 million workers anticipated by 2010. This projects a likely scenario of an increased dependency on immigrant employees. If you are not providing at least some communication to your employees in other languages now, it is likely that you will be soon.

Translating Your Policies

Businesses employing workers who speak a language other than English as their primary language are recommended at a minimum to translate the following policies:

n Equal Employment Opportunity

n Prohibited Harassment

n Nature of Employment

n Pregnancy Disability Leave

n Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) & California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

n Time Off To Vote

n Rest and Meal Periods

n Interactive Communication Process

n Corrective Action

n Safety Rules

n Acknowledgement of Receipt of Handbook

From a legal compliance standpoint, employee handbook policies are the first line of defense for employers in the event of an employee lawsuit. From a best practices standpoint, employees whose primary language is not English may be more susceptible to isolation in the workplace and more in need of reference materials in their own language to understand policies and practices in the workplace. When contemplating the needs of your diverse workforce, consider providing your employees with the communication tools to do their jobs better and to meet compliance requirements. After all, a productive contributing employee is good for business.

Translation Is an Art and a Science

A translator must be well educated in the language he/she is translating to and must also have a strong command of and understand the tricky nuances of English. The translator must also be well versed in employment policies and practices. If you are going to translate your policies, use a translator who is well informed regarding the changing legal environment in which the workplace policies are being implemented.

A translator should understand not only the words, but also the meaning. It takes skill and practice to be a translator and is not just a function of being bilingual. Be cautious in using an employee who happens to be bilingual to translate communications and consider that this is also taking a legal risk.

What steps can you take to help ensure better translations for your documents?

n Use a professional translator who knows the subject matter and terminology of your organization’s documents and policies.

n Ensure your translator is a native speaker of the language in which he/she is writing and is educated in that language so he/she is well versed in grammar, syntax and spelling.

n Allow enough time; translation is time-consuming so don’t wait until the last minute.

n Budget sufficiently for translations. Don't choose your translators just based on the lowest cost; choose them based on the quality outcome and in meeting your expectations. Online translation software has its place-for single words and some simple, direct phrases. However, even a simple phrase can be risky, and more complex or legally sensitive ones are much more so.

n Begin with a clear, well-written English document. The better the original document, including consistent wording and good syntax and grammar, the better the translation.

Additional Considerations for Translating Legal Notices

Federal and California laws require specific employment notices to be displayed at each work site in a conspicuous area accessible to all employees and applicants. These notices listed below are included in TPO’s “all-in-one” laminated posters we offer to our clients and members.

TPO recommends that employers translate and post all required notices (see below) in order to provide their employees with accurate information about the law. In case of a legal challenge, this shows that the employer has taken reasonable steps to inform employees of important rights, such as the right to be free from workplace harassment and discrimination.

In California, employers with 50 or more employees where 10 percent or more of the employees speak a language other than English as their primary language are legally required to translate the DFEH Pregnancy Disability Leave & Family Care & Medical Leave and Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 notices - (listed in bold below) into the language or languages spoken by these groups of employees.

n Federal Minimum Wage notice

n California Minimum Wage notice

n Employee Polygraph Protection Act

n Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

n Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law

n Your Rights Under USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act)

n Pay Day Notice

n CA EDD Unemployment Insurance Benefits

n Discrimination and Harassment in Employment Are Prohibited by Law

n Safety and Health Protection on the Job

n Emergency Phone Numbers

n DFEH Pregnancy Disability Leave & Family Care & Medical Leave

n CA EDD Notice to Employees: Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance & Paid Family Leave

n CA Department of Industrial Relations Notice to Employees With Injuries Caused by Work

n Whistleblowers Are Protected (Federal)

NOTE: A Time Off For Voting poster must also be posted for 10 days preceding a California statewide election.

Additionally, employers are required to provide certain information to employees concerning their legally mandated employee benefits, which are available in a number of languages:

n Facts About Workers Compensation (obtained from your workers compensation insurance carrier)

n Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) “Sexual Harassment” (DFEH 185)

n CA EDD “State Disability Insurance Provisions” (DE 2515)

n CA EDD “Paid Family Leave” Insurance Program (DE 2511)

n California’s Programs for the Unemployed: Unemployment Insurance; Disability Insurance; Paid Family Leave; and Job Service


If you have any questions regarding translation of your employee communications, contact TPO. We are able to provide Spanish translations through a reliable service.

Have you been putting off important employment training?
This summer, make it a priority and take advantage of TPO’s Summer Special!

$100 off July 2007 CEE and August 2007 MES programs!


Buy 2 seats at the regular price and get 50% off the third seat for someone in your organization!

Mention our newsletter when registering to get the discount.
(Unfortunately, this offer cannot be combined with other coupons or discounts)




What Management and HR Must Know!

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 missteps.

n Employment Law for Supervisors- Wage & Hour, Harassment, Discrimination, Exempt/Non-Exempt

n Effective Recruiting, Interviewing & Hiring Interviewing, Assessments, Making the Offer

n Performance Management Appraisals, Counseling & Discipline, Investigations

n Separation of Employment Terminations, Resignations, Suspensions, Separation Meeting

n Time Away from Work ADA, Workers’ Compensation, Family Care & Medical Leaves

n Specific Detail Review To make sure all of your specific questions are answered!

Date/Time:  Three full day sessions: July 11, 18, 25, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (lunch served!)

Location: TPO’s Professional Development Center, 60 Garden Court, Suite 100, Monterey

Cost:   Members:   $595 per participant      Non-Members: $695 per participant

Click here to view full description and to register for this training!

Management Excellence Series (MES) is designed to review the essential elements of effective leadership & provide managers and supervisors with a broad range of topics and resources that are practical and relevant to their day-to-day leadership needs. Participants of the MES will have a better understanding of how to create and develop their teams, set standards of performance, clearly communicate standards, and motivate others to achieve higher performance levels.

n Leadership by Design

n Understanding your Current Management Style (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator included)

n Communication Skills

n Situational Leadership II® – using the right leadership style in the right situation

n Coaching and Conflict Resolution reasons for performance problems

n Creating High Performance Teams

n Time Management let delegation be the key!

n Effectively Managing Change in an Organization or Department

                            Date/Time: Four full day sessions: August 8, 15, 22, 29, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm  (lunch is served)

Location: TPO’s Professional Development Center,60 Garden Court, Suite 100, Monterey

Cost:    Members: $795 per participant        Non-Members: $895 per participant

Click here to view full description and to register for this training!

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TPO's Employment Upd@te may 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.