CA Employment Essentials (HR101)
A training series focusing
on the regulatory compliance and
- the information & skills supervisors & managers
keep themselves and the organization out of hot water!
A training series focusing on
communication skills to help
develop or refine
effectiveness as leaders!
March - April '09
Workers' Comp Management
Excelling as a First Time Manager
TPO in the Community!
SPHR-CA, M.Ed., CCP
Promoting Creative Conflict
12:00 - 2:00 pm
Peachwoods Restaurant at the Inn at Pasatiempo, 555 Highway
17, Santa Cruz, California
Contact Marlyn Gamble at (415) 291-1992
TPO and Littler will guide you through an informative day,
balancing both Legal and Leadership Best Practices to
prepare you for 2009!
2009 Employment Law & Leadership Conference
PREMIER CONFERENCE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS, MANAGERS, HR, RISK
MANAGEMENT AND LEGAL COUNSEL IN PUBLIC, PRIVATE AND
Click here for
early bird registration!
AB 1825 became law in 2005 and mandates two hours of
supervisor “Harassment and Discrimination” training every
two years. That means that it may be time to plan for your
2009 training sessions in order to maintain compliance. Our
updated program is highly interactive and has valuable new
materials to help your supervisors understand and comply
with the harassment, discrimination and retaliation aspects
of the law. If you book your training dates by the end of
November, 2008, we will discount the cost by a full 15%!
Start your New Year the right way, with assured compliance
and a hefty discount by contacting us at 1-800-277-8448 to
lock in your 2009 training times and dates. We can deliver
the Harassment and Discrimination program at your business
site, or you can send your employees to our TPO University
Professional Development Center at 60 Garden Court, Suite
100, in Monterey.
Escoto, MSOD, SPHR has been selected as “Volunteer of
the Month” by the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors. Kelsey was nominated by Chamber staff,
volunteers and board members because of her efforts on
Chamber committees – Business Accelerator Project and the
Board Nominating Committee.
Recently, TPO conducted a survey of our members and clients
about how the economy is affecting their operations. Here’s
what 150 employers responded:
Has your organization been impacted by the economic changes?
Yes = 87%
More Negative = 85%
More Positive have done the following (40% in each case):
More Negative have done the following:
Mentioned of Interest:
budgeting of expenses
accounts receivable – pay at time of service only
used in vehicles
surveys done by TPO help us better understand the needs and
preferences of our clients and Members. This allows us to
adjust our offerings in appropriate ways.
is TPO as a firm responding to the economy?
been interesting. We've definitely helped many of our
clients with new and different employment issues based on
the economy. It has also caused us to refocus our efforts in
different directions and shift our services to what
employers need during this time. It's been somewhat
energizing for us and prompted a new level of creativity.
For instance, we introduced a briefing format to provide
added value to our members and help employers understand
options for reshaping their workforce within legal
boundaries and how to safeguard their employee relations
practices as they make adjustments.” Jill Russell
HOW IS TPO RESPONDING TO OUR CLIENTS' NEEDS IN TODAY’S
TPO is taking
the lead in helping our members and clients adjust to the
current economic challenges through a variety of strategies
and process realignments.
The most common requests for assistance are related to:
Complying with all laws and regulations when reducing
the workforce or moving to flexible work schedules such
as the "four-ten" work week.
Assisting employers with creative ways to re-organize
the workforce by reassigning employees to new positions.
Helping employers focus remaining workers on core
functions and positive aspects of the organization
required to be successful in the changing marketplace.
Consulting with employers who wish to help their
employees with the transition to either a different
position or the job search process.
Helping clients become more efficient and cost effective
by training their managers and supervisors (CEE, MES,
The member calls
have been flooding in! We are pleased to provide advice and
consultation to our members at no charge. Non member calls
are billed at $195 - $225. Maybe its time to become a member
and access more frequent expert advice?
Article written by:
Jill Russell, SPHR
TPO has recently added (already
popular!) briefings in response to the results of our recent “Economic Impact”
survey, and because of the volume of calls we are receiving about how to adjust
business operations to the current economy. Cost: TPO Members – No Charge (Yes!
Yet another member benefit!) and Non-Members - $35.
We recently presented the following
topics to a “full to capacity” audience:
Aligning your Business to the Current Economy
Arrangements in the Current Economy
Keeping Employees Engaged
in a Changing Work Environment
UPCOMING MORNING BRIEFINGS:
SANTA CRUZ AREA -
Golf Club from 9:00-10:30:
your Business to the Current Economy – November 13th
Arrangements in the Current Economy – December 11th
Keep an eye out
for briefings we will be scheduling in San Benito/Santa
Clara, Central Valley/Sacramento, and Southern CA!
To register for
our next scheduled Briefings, contact Blanca Corcoles at
email@example.com or call your TPO representative.
PS: If you
belong to a group or organization that would benefit from
these Briefings, give us a call!
times like these employee fears tend to increase over
security, job and benefits continuation and even the
company’s solvency. The consequences of these anxieties can
manifest in poor performance, absenteeism, irritability and
poor communication between employees and managers. Bottom
line it’s hard for employees to remain focused and engaged
or motivated. If left alone, things are unlikely to get
What can business owners and managers/supervisors do to keep
employees motivated and engaged? Below are 4 steps to
consider that will increase employee motivation and
News – Good and Bad – To Your Employees.
The best way to approach tough times is to be honest
with your employees. Let employees know what
management is doing to address concerns and ask for
their help. Frequently, employees would rather take
a pay-cut, or work on a reduced schedule than have
their job eliminated. Additionally, you may be
surprised by cost-saving measures and ideas that
employees suggest. Your employees are your best
allies in a down economy, especially if they are on
the front lines talking with your customers! Utilize
their expertise and knowledge and see motivation and
Motivates Each Employee is as Different as the
Ask individual employees on your team what motivates
them. You are likely to hear that employees want to
be recognized and appreciated for the work they do,
to be in on things, to help make decisions or to be
asked their opinion. For example, a Hewlett-Packard
engineer burst into his manager’s office to announce
he’d just found the solution to a problem the group
had been struggling with for many weeks. His manager
quickly looked around his office for some item to
acknowledge the accomplishment and ended up handing
the employee a banana from his lunch with the words
“Well done. Congratulations.” Over time, the Golden
Banana Award became one of the most prestigious
honors bestowed on an inventive employee. Even a
simple handwritten note of “thanks” carries a lot of
meaning and weight.
Deal with Change and Transition Head On.
People deal with change and transition in many
different ways. The effect of any change – good or
bad – is a loss of control. Besides security,
employees may feel they now lack competence, or are
losing relationships, direction or alignment.
Remember Step #1 – talk to your employees about the
change, acknowledge their anxiety and perceived loss
of control. Focus on what they can do to help the
situation. Provide information consistently and
often. Most importantly don’t try to explain away or
minimize your employee’s concerns or feelings.
Fun and creative rewards work best to motivate
When times are tough it is
difficult to celebrate and have fun at work. It seems to
fly in the face of the seriousness of what needs to be
done. In an effort to support our clients in these
difficult times, TPO has been asking “Are you having fun
at work?” If you answered no to that question, it might
be time to bring fun back to work. Something simple and
silly goes a long way in increasing morale and
motivation. Remember the Golden Banana?
It is easy to
slip into a downward spiral when stories of difficult times
are everywhere. Keeping employees focused on the task at
hand, communicating honestly and recognizing employees often
for their input will help your organization weather the
Are you ready to have fun at work?
Call TPO and speak to a consultant about our “FUN at Work”
series! It’s fun, motivating and will increase employee
engagement (and profits)!
by: Kelsey Escoto,
California HR Legislation
The CA Legislature started with 1,187 bills this session and
after Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed 415 of them, only 771
bills were signed into law – the highest veto rate in CA to
All bills impact living and working in CA, however this
article is a recap of the employment-related bills that were
on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk for consideration.
SIGNED INTO LAW
Computer Professionals –
This urgency legislation was signed into law to
amend the overtime exemption requirements for computer
professionals. Under the new law, employees meeting
specific duties tests making not less than $75,000 in
salary per year and at least $6,250 per month in salary
generally will be exempt from many wage and hour
requirements (most notably overtime, breaks and meals).
The rates will be adjusted annually based on the CPI.
Previously certain highly skilled
computer professionals were able to bring overtime
lawsuits (and class action lawsuits) against employers
for unpaid overtime due to wording that provided an
exemption from overtime if they earned at least $36 per
hour in each workweek of the year (annualized for a
full-time salary of $74,880). Certain employee’s argued
that if a computer professional was paid $74,880 in
salary, and worked more than 40 hours during any one
week of the year, the overtime exemption was lost for
the whole year because the employee had not received the
equivalent of $36 per hour “in each workweek.” Employers
complained that the prior version of the statute created
potential legal claims they would not face operating in
any other state.
Disability Access Compliance (SB
1608) – This was a bipartisan, bicameral
comprehensive reform measure providing for increased
public access for individuals with disabilities while at
the same time reducing unwarranted litigation.
Provisions of particular interest:
Clarifies that plaintiffs may
recover damages only for a violation they personally
encountered or that deterred access on a particular
occasion, rather than for alleged violations that may
exist at a place of business but did not cause a denial
Encourages the use of
state-certified disability access specialists.
Establishes court procedure for
early judicial review of lawsuit claims.
“Hands-Free” and now
“Text-Free” – California drivers already are
(supposed to be) making “hands-free” cell phone calls
while driving. Beginning 1/1/09, drivers will now be
banned from reading, writing or sending a text message
while driving in a vehicle. Employers should consider
aligning their written policies on automobile use with
current legal requirements and good risk management
Court Cases of HR Interest
An Eye on the “Brinker” Case…the CA Supreme Court set to
weigh in on meal periods in CA?
The CA Supreme
Court has recently decided to consider a key case (the
“Brinker” case) affecting how employers should handle
employee meal and rest breaks. Until the state high court
issues its ruling, employers are faced with having to
evaluate how to implement meal periods in the workplace.
Each employer needs to weigh the information and make the
best decision for their specific situation...accepting the
risks involved with each. Two ends of the spectrum of
A more risk-adverse approach: Ensure that meal periods
are actually taken until the dust settles and an
informed decision can be made based on the newest
A more risk-tolerant approach: Follow the “Brinker” case
and the guidelines currently in place at the DLSE (Labor
Commissioner’s Office) and merely provide the
opportunity to take meal periods (let employees know
they can take them through handbook policies, memos,
meetings and even documented on time records) and allow
employees the ability to not take a meal period at their
choice (not because there is too much work and the
company doesn’t want them to take a meal period)…and
cross your fingers that the rules won’t be reversed by
the CA Supreme Court or legislation!
Federal ADA Amendments
President Bush approved the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (S.
3406), to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act to
provide broader protections for disabled workers and turn
back the clock on Supreme Court rulings that Congress deemed
too restrictive of disabled employees' rights. A person now
will be deemed to be "disabled," and protected by the ADA,
if he or she is restricted in any "major life activity." It
doesn't matter if a "mitigating measure" (e.g., medication,
hearing aid) can control or eliminate the problem.
changes bring the ADA closer to the standards under
California's disability bias law, the Fair Employment
and Housing Act (FEHA), which also broadly provides that
mitigating measures cannot be considered in determining
whether a major life activity is limited.
by: Melissa Irwin,
Williams Dental Lab
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!
THE MISSION RANCH HAS BEEN A TPO MEMBER FOR OVER THIRTEEN
YEARS. HOW DO YOU FEEL TPO CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR OPERATION’S
Jung, General Manager:
“"The Mission Ranch and TPO have been partners for over 13
years. The Mission Ranch employs 149 staff members and we
have a wonderful diverse group of individuals who are
dedicated employees. TPO has provided us with invaluable
Leadership and HR classes. They have created "on premises"
classes for our employees that directly pertain to the
Hospitality Industry and our specific needs. TPO has been
very instrumental in helping us create and train our HR
department. Your staff members are professional, always
helpful (even at 4:25pm!) with great advice. Robert and
Jill, your dedication to Employer and Employee Relations and
much more, has made our operations successful on so many
levels. Our testimonials are our managers and employees who
come back after your trainings enthusiastic, lifted morale
and greater communication skills, eager to apply what they
have just learned."
TPO has provided not only the technical information needed
to ensure exemplary HR practices, but you have mentored us
as we developed our own human resources department. Your
staff is outstanding and always helpful when we need advice
on a challenging issue. Over the years, you have assisted us
in staying current on HR regulations, trained us on a
variety of topics and provided us with excellent advice. Our
employees are our biggest asset and you have helped us in
our quest to attract and retain outstanding staff."
tHE mISSION rANCH
The Historic Mission Ranch
offers thirty-one unique and charming rooms - many with
ocean views, fireplaces and Jacuzzi Tubs. Our Historic
1850's Farmhouse, The Bunk House, The Hayloft and our Meadow
View Triplex rooms just to name a few. A complimentary
continental breakfast and use of our six Championship Tennis
Courts and Fitness Facility is included. Dinner is served
nightly from 5pm to 9:30pm. The Piano Bar is a favorite for
our dedicated locals and guests. Dinner music starts at 8pm
and sing-a-longs start at 9pm with complete bar service
beginning at 4pm Monday thru Saturday. Our Sunday Jazz
Champagne Brunch has become a Carmel tradition, featuring
one of the area's most venerable trios. Brunch is served at
10am until 1:30pm. The Mission Ranch offers a spectacular
setting for weddings, parties and Corporate Events. The
"Patio Barn," which will accommodate 50 to 96 guests, offers
a dance floor and glass doors that open onto the brick patio
with a view towards the green meadow and ocean. It also
boasts a large copper-topped bar at one end of the room with
a stage at the opposite end. The "Large Barn," which will
accommodate parties up to 160 guests, is a generous room
with an open beam ceiling. The Mission Ranch Staff prides
itself in making your stay a happy and memorable one. Our
mission is simple, "When you are happy, we are happy". We
look forward to seeing you down at the Mission Ranch!
For more information about The
Mission Ranch: www.
“Floating Holidays” & “Personal Days”
…when they must be paid out
upon separation of employment.
when employers allow employees to take days off with pay and
the employee can choose when and/or why they want to take
that time off; the days off are an earned (vested) benefit
and the accrued portion must be paid out upon separation of
employment (vacation and PTO are the classic examples).
When employers require the paid time off to be taken for a
specific reason and/or day, that time is not an earned
(vested) benefit and therefore it need not be paid out upon
separation of employment (sick leave and holidays are the
How the company defines “Floating Holidays” and “Personal
Days” will determine if such time must be paid upon
separation of employment.
Example 1 –
Personal Days: Employees
at XYZ Company each calendar year are given 3 “Personal
Days” to take whenever they want in the year. On October
31st, employment separates and the employee had not used
any of the 3 days. In this situation, the final paycheck
must include 2.5 days of the accrued but unused Floating
Holidays (10/12 of 3 days).
Example 2 -
Birthday: Employees at
ABC Company are given their birthday off with pay each
calendar year (if the birthday falls on a day usually
not worked, the employee can take the usual day worked
before/after off). An employee whose birthday is
December 10th separates employment on October 31st. In
this situation the final paycheck does not need to
include a prorated portion of the Birthday Day Off.
Example 3 –
Floating Holidays: Each
calendar year employees at LMN Company are given a sheet
listing the dates of 12 holidays and employees are
allowed to take any 8 of the 12 off. On October 31st,
employment separates and the employee had not used all
of the 8 days. In this situation, the final paycheck
does not need to include a prorated portion of the
floating holidays not taken.
TO DO: Make sure that
your actual practices match your written policies!
Next Wage & Hour Quick Tip:
What to do with unclaimed final paychecks.
there a way to make room for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
and still get our work done? And
we do so without offending anyone?
year-end holidays can mean an onslaught of tricky diversity
and religious issues. The 10 tips below can help your
business or organization enjoy the holiday season by
focusing on things that various cultures and traditions have
in common. Celebrations are a part of every group. They lift
our spirits and generate feelings of familial and cultural
joy and unity and can be presented in that manner.
If you want to say an all-inclusive,
“Happy Holidays,” you can do so knowing that there are
more religions represented in the workplace now than
even five years ago and that all of them celebrate the
same aspects of love, giving and gratitude that are a
part of this time of year.
Use the holidays as an educational tool
by setting up a voluntary display table open to employee
decorations that reflect a variety of faiths and
The holiday season can also mean year-end
business tasks. Get organized now so that year-end work
does not result in last minute surprises and unforeseen
Greeting cards offer the chance to close
down the calendar with a word of thanks. A safe choice
is to pick cards with diverse faces and multiple
languages that everyone can recognize and enjoy.
As an alternative to a holiday card,
consider that Thanksgiving cards can “kick off” the
holiday season and New Years cards get noticed when
everyone returns to work in January so they are great
alternatives to cards representing only one of the
Use the holidays to honor key clients in
some special way. Be creative! Send local gift
certificates, or donate to a charity (that is not
religious or political) in their name.
Go through your rolodex and find business
associates and clients that you have lost track of. It
is a good time to reconnect without looking obvious and
the ball will be rolling when you want to do business in
Put together or order a fruit basket for
the office instead of the usual box of chocolates.
Healthy foods make everyone feel great!
Keep work-related holiday parties alcohol
free and you can avoid a host of negative incidents,
perceptions and “misunderstandings.”
Plan an office food drive or call your
county Social Service department and “adopt” a foster
child for holiday gift-giving. It will create a real
sense of focus and team.
Article written by:
Susan Kettmann, SPHR
Jill Russell, SPHR, TPO Principal
After starting TPO 17 years ago, how do you keep things
exciting at work - and what do you do to balance running a
business with your spouse and having a separate private
A. Practice, practice, practice!
I have actually been in HR 25
years now! When Robert and I conceptualized starting an HR
company on the Central Coast – we hoped it would be a
meaningful success for us and for our clients. 17 years
later, the harder we work at it, the luckier we get! It has
been wonderful listening to the needs of our members and
clients, and designing practical solutions.
One of the unique and exciting things about what we do is
that I was able to engineer a virtual career shift within
the same company. While I used to be focused on technical
HR, I am now spending most of my time on TPO infrastructure
and supporting our talented team through project oversight
and providing them with the tools and support they need to
focus and excel at delivering their HR expertise to the
benefit of our clients. Although I do work on various client
projects, most of my work is helping run TPO. This is only
possible because of the caliber of consultants and staff we
have – I can let go and know our clients are getting the
best and brightest support possible – they are a truly
On the “how do I balance being married to my business
partner and having a “life”. Some would rephrase that to,
“how do you stayed married to Robert?!?” Just kidding!
Robert and I recently celebrated our 24th wedding
anniversary! Once we figured out how to work on/in the same
business together, and defined our separate roles, we have
been incredibly synergistic co-Principals of TPO. We have
the same commitment to quality and our Mission, including a
uniform focus on our employees and clients. Our compass is
clear and we stay the course to the degree humanly possible.
We have rules at home about how much TPO can be discussed,
just like any other couple working for separate employers.
You have to draw the line and have a “life”. Despite that
rule, our clients get a lot of free consulting and problem
solving over a glass of wine at dinner!
With three grown children, three amazing grandchildren,
three cats (there’s a theme here!), TWO brand new miniature
donkeys, enjoying friends and traveling a bit, there’s no
shortage of distractions! I love to garden – and with 7
acres I’ll never be finished. I’m also writing a book! Like
all of us, I am growing and evolving in many directions. TPO
provides a very centering, energetic life force full of
challenges and opportunities to make a positive difference
for organizations and the people in them. It has been and
continues to be a bona fide pleasure.
Meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations!
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT provides "outsourced" support
to help employers understand and
comply with confusing employment laws,
train managers to
avoid costly mistakes and promote positive employee
We hope you enjoyed reading TPO
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