n  5th Annual Conference

n  Training Calendar

n  Career Transition Support

n  2008-2009 Employment Law Update

n  Flexible Work Arrangements:

n  Why Do They Do That?:

n  A Brand New (Work) Day:

n  Reductions in Force

n  Welcome New Members

n  This month’s TPO Specials!

n  2009 Mandated Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Year!



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 February - March '09

n April '09

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 - April '09

n May - Junel '09

Workshops Calendar

n Excelling as a First Time Manager

February 12

n FMLA/CFRA/PDL Compliance

March 12

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work

March 19 AM

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work (Spanish)

March 19 PM

n Effective Meeting Management

April 02

n Workers Compensation Management

April 07

n Motivating and Retaining Employees

May 05

n How to Say It

June 10


With a combined team of nine TPO HR experts and ten Littler attorneys, we maintained our long-standing balance of regulatory and leadership (HR) focus. This year’s conference provided the most current regulatory information and implementation skills to proceed in these uncertain economic times. Dennis Brown, Esq. - Littler San Jose’s Managing Partner, and Marlene Muraco, Shareholder, co-presented the renowned LITTLER UPDATE morning session. Followed by a highly interactive Panel Session blending three Littler legal experts (Dennis Brown, Esq., Suzanne Nestor, Esq. and Adam Fiss, Esq.) with TPO’s Senior Consultants, Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA and LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA. Facilitated by Jill and Robert Russell, the Panel answered audience questions first from a legal perspective and then balanced with practical HR tips and considerations. We gave out scores of valuable raffle prizes to lucky winners donated by our cosponsors, exhibitors, Littler and TPO! In our continued effort to “go green” and avoid paper, attendees were provided a thumb drive containing all of the PowerPoint Presentations – compliments of Littler!

“Having TPO’s participation (on the panel) is valuable and goes beyond legal to HR/environmental/morale perspectives!” Linda Wight, Associate VP-HR CSUMB

This year, our Exhibitor Showcase was rich with professional employer resources. We thank each one of our cosponsors and exhibitors for adding huge value to all who attended: Monterey County Herald/Yahoojobs.com; Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce; Pinnacle Business Services; InterWest Insurance Services; Littler Mendelson and Richard Schneider Global Translation & Interpretation.

Following a delicious buffet lunch and lots of enjoyable conversations and networking, our afternoon programs included Legal Clinics staffed by Littler attorneys/Shareholders: Marlene Muraco, Adam Fiss, Ron Peters, Gina Chang and Brian McMillan) running concurrent with the afternoon sessions. Conference attendees made the difficult choice to attend two of four impactful topics:

  1. The First 100 Days: The Obama Administration - Richard Leasia, Esq., Littler Mendelson

  2. Reductions in Force: The Puzzle, The Process - Todd Boyer, Esq. / Michele Babb, Esq., Littler Mendelson

  3. Flexible Work Arrangements: Balancing Needs with Regulations - Melissa Irwin, sphr-ca, TPO Sr. Consultant

  4. “Why Do They Do That?”Understanding Employee Communication & Motivation - LaTonya Olivier, sphr-ca, TPO Sr. Consultant

“The sign of a successful conference is that I want to attend all four...you did an amazing job choosing these topics!” Theresa Briant

If you weren't there, you truly missed
We look forward to seeing you all at:
TPO's Sixth Annual
2010 Annual Employment Law & Leadership Conference!

PS: Watch for the survey we’ll be sending out in March to get your thoughts and opinions to help us plan the 2010 conference!

Article written by: Jill Russell, SPHR

Are you considering reorganization or downsizing in the future?

TPO-HR offers guidance and assistance to employers and affected employees in managing career transition and change. We offer a range of transition service options to assist participants through the career move, as well as supporting employers through the reorganization process.

Typical Career Transition support services include:

  • Termination Notification Support
  • Individual Self-Assessment Tools
  • Resume Development
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Stress and Change Management
  • Career Coaching
  • Job Search Strategies
  • Re-teaming

TPO works with clients to customize a Career Transition Package to meet your organization’s needs. To get more information, please contact TPO at 1-800-277-8448 or tpo@tpohr.com

Just When You Thought You Knew it All!: 2008-2009 Legal Update
Dennis Brown, Esq. and Marlene Muraco, Esq., Littler

Looking back to the legislation and court cases of 2008, employers can more confidently prepare their employment policies and practices for 2009. The recap of the most impactful issues and as well as practical suggestions for employers include (refer to your jump drive for the full PowerPoint presentation):

  • Federal ADA Amendments – The spirit of the amendments were to roll back court interpretations that had strayed from the original vision of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such amendments now bring the ADA closer to the provisions of CA’s anti-disability laws by broadening ADA’s scope. When in doubt of disabled status, assume the employee may be and engage in an interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodation is possible.

  • Federal FMLA – Though currently for employers with 50 or more employees, expect that the Obama Administration may push for dropping the count to 25 or more employees.

    1. Newly added: up to 26 weeks to care for a family member injured in active military duty.

    2. Newly added: 12 weeks for qualifying exigencies caused by a family member being recalled to active duty.

    3. Revisions: the Federal FMLA had modifications to eligibility requirements, serious health condition definitions, notice and other designation changes. These revisions when applied to CA employees must take both the CA CFRA and the Federal FMLA into consideration; therefore some FMLA revisions are not applicable in CA.

  • CA Meal Periods – The CA Supreme Court is expected to give guidance to CA employers on many issues related to breaks/meals, including if the meal must be made available, or if the meal must be taken. In the meantime, document compliance and audit regularly.

  • Federal Genetic Information Act – Effective 11/21/09, regulates and restricts the collection, use or disclosure of employees’ genetic information. In conjunction with CA’s standing prohibition against using such information, apply the same confidentiality protections as to other types of medical information under the ADA.

  • Federal EEOC’s Religious Compliance Assistance – A new website is aimed at assisting employers with eradicating religious discrimination. http://www/eeoc.gov/policy/docs/religion.html.

  • CA Managers NOT Personally Liable for Retaliation – Though managers can still be found personally liable for illegal harassment.

  • Text Messages – As technology changes, change your policies to stay in step! Employers must communicate there is no expectation to privacy of TMs and enforce it.

  • Medical Marijuana – The CA Supreme Court ruled that employers do not have to accommodate medical marijuana use because it is still an illegal drug under federal law.

Refer to your jump drive for the full PowerPoint presentation.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

Flexible Work Arrangements: Balancing Individual NEEDS with Employment REGULATIONS
Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA, TPO Consultant

In today’s economy, more than ever, employers are wanting to evaluate all options in scheduling in order to determine if they meet the company’s needs, the employee’s needs, and if it can be accomplished within CA’s employment regulations. Some flexible options, along with TPO recommendations include:

  • Telecommuting – Focus on clear agreements as to the very specific arrangement (who pays for what) and a pre-schedule of “check-ins” to make sure that everyone’s expectations are being met!

  • Reduced Work Hour/Days – These reductions might be for the business, or for individual/all employees. Since this option usually reduces the employee’s pay, give careful consideration of the employee-relations implications.

  • Changing to Part-time or Casual/On-call Employment Status – Such changes can put employees into a category where they do not earn company benefits (vacation, sick, holidays, health insurance), though they will still earn legally-required benefits (Workers’ Comp., Unemployment, Social Security, etc.)

  • Alternative Workweeks – If you don’t go through the hoops, including a secret ballot election and reporting the results to the State, it is NOT an alternative workweek and your documents showing 4, 10-hour days will become proof of 2 hours overtime worked each day! Allow Make-Up Time for employees who want to request personal schedules.

  • Job Sharing – Multiple part-time workers can save on benefits and help tap into the part-time market that many employees are interested in due to personal/family/school obligations or as a gentle way into retirement.

In evaluating these decisions, the savvy employer will not be tempted to change the status of a true “employee” to an “independent contractor”, nor change a position that is truly non-exempt (required to get breaks, meals and overtime) to exempt (salaried and not subject to breaks, meals and overtime).

Refer to your jump drive for the full PowerPoint presentation.

Article written by: Melissa Irwin, SPHR-CA

Why Do They Do That?: Understanding Employee Communication & Motivation
LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA, GRP TPO Consultant

When faced with challenging and difficult employees, it is easy to get emotional and fall into non-productive behaviors. Understanding individual employee communication styles can help you choose a more effective response. In this workshop we explored the “whys” behind both supervisors’ and employees’ behaviors along with concrete ways to set up positive outcomes. Employees seek one of four “rewards” at work and we will learn how to structure our messages to set up more “win-win” situations and halt escalating situations. Review the four choices for dealing with a difficult person; Understand how the four basic individual communication styles affect interactions; Learn about the four “rewards” people seek at work and how to use them to create positive outcomes.

  • What do Employees Want From Work

    • Live - Employees need to have basic physical needs met. Included in this category are things like compensation, safety at work, a reasonable work space based on physical attributes, etc.

    • Love – Employees are looking for a sense of respect, acceptance and even status within a group of individuals so that they feel that are a part of the whole and have a sense of community.

    • Learn – Employees need knowledge and growth in their careers. Formal training, interesting and challenging assignments and work experiences fulfill this need.

    • Legacy - Employees want to know they have made a difference. They like to teach others and see that their ideas and outcomes are useful.

  • Four Types

    • Orange – Life is a game for these employees. They are naturally charming and spontaneous. These employees are born entertainers.

    • Maroon – A strong sense of right and wrong guides these employees. They are dependable and very loyal. These employees focus on preserving traditions and values.

    • Blue – Sincerity and compassion guide these employees. They are natural romantics and nurturers. These employees value integrity and community.

    • Aqua – Problem solving is important to these non-conformist employees. They are abstract thinkers who love to investigate. These employees value intelligence and are true visionaries.

  • Hot Tips

    • Let the small stuff go.

    • Tackle hard conversations head-on.

    • Get advice from peers or supervisors.

    • Tailor your message to what this type can “hear” and values.

    Refer to your jump drive for the full PowerPoint presentation.

    Article written by: LaTonya Olivier, SPHR-CA

A Brand New (Work) Day: Coming Workplace Change in the Obama Era
Richard Leasia, Esq.

In this dramatic overview of what may lie ahead with the new administration in terms of labor, Mr. Leasia noted the close financial ties of the Obama campaign to labor, which may point the way towards a push for fundamental labor law and practice change at the federal level. This could include rolling back many of the Bush-era employer-friendly initiatives in favor of the rights of workers and unions.

It was also pointed out that key administration players have close labor ties, including the new Secretary of Labor, a number of former Clinton Administration appointees, leaders in the Obama Transition Team and congressional leaders who sit on key labor committees.

Some of the things Mr. Leasia targeted for monitoring include:

  • DOL (Department of Labor) focus on a rollback of union financial disclosure rules

  • New record-keeping obligations from EEOC, along with stepped up hiring to address the backlog of filed complaints

  • Three NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) appointments that will give Democrats a clear majority on that body

  • An EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) passage push to make it easier for unions to organize

  • A review of NLRA (National Labor Relations Act) and FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) regulations and procedures

  • Push for passage of the RESPECT Act (Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Trade Workers) which seeks redefine ”supervisor” to make many of them eligible for union membership

  • Possible expansion from 50 to 25 employees as the threshold for FMLA coverage

  • A Healthy Families Act which would mandate paid sick days

According to the presenter, employers should take an interest in Washington politics in the area of labor and be vigilant by letting elected representatives know about employer needs.

Refer to your jump drive for the full PowerPoint presentation.

Article written by: Susan Kettmann, SPHR-CA

Reductions in Force
Todd K. Boyer, Esq. and Michele M. Babb, Esq.

Information was take-home for this workshop which explored necessary considerations when downsizing a workforce. The key idea was to plan and execute carefully, beginning with the selection of clear and legal layoff Criteria and a thorough evaluation for unintended disparate impacts. Helpful strategies for avoiding layoffs and terminations were identified: attrition, hiring freezes, voluntary retirements and other means to legally garner voluntary resignations. The federal WARN Act, which applies to large (100+) employers who are considering layoffs was reviewed at length. The presenters wrapped things up with a realistic discussion of workplace violence concerns and release agreement considerations.

Article written by: Susan Kettmann, SPHR-CA

n Master Landscapes

n Wasson's

n Elkhorn Slough Foundation

n Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB)

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!

You know you want or need to schedule training this year,

but aren’t sure when and who to enroll? No problem!

We’ve just made it easier and more affordable to check training off your ‘to do’ list!


Buy 2, get 3; buy 4 get 6; buy 7 get 10 (and if you need more, just keep going!)


Any of the following programs scheduled at TPO’s Professional Development Center!


  1. CA EMPLOYMENT ESSENTIALS (CEE) is THREE FULL DAYS 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.

  2. MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE SERIES (MES) is FOUR FULL DAYS 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.

  3. PRE-SCHEDULED AT TPO: These timely 3-HOUR PROGRAMS are scheduled each month to offer an efficient and affordable way to develop the effectiveness of your managers, supervisors and line staff. From “First Time Manager” to how to comply with employment laws, to “Wowing Your Customers” and beyond...these programs reduce risk and increase employee morale. All of which will increase the bottom line!

    • Don’t forget that 2009 is a required Harassment Prevention Training year for many CA employers! You can comply by attending one of our pre-scheduled programs!

Some examples of how your ANNUAL TPO-U PASS will save your bottom line!




Regular Cost

Annual Pass Cost


      Member Non-Member Member Non- Member



3 Full Days CEE (3 for 2) 3 $2085 $2385 $1390 $1590 $695 $795
4 Full Days MES (4 for 6) 6 $5370 $5970 $3580 $3980 $1790 $1990
3-Hour Sessions Pre-Scheduled Topics            (7 for 10) 10 $890 $1090 $623 $763 $267 $327

Talk to us about combining participants in CEE and MES for BIG savings!

TPO's Sexual Harassment Prevention Training programs meet the legal requirements of AB1825, AND deliver high impact information to change behaviors and reduce your organization's risk for harassment claims.

We have trained thousands of supervisors/ managers/executives and line staff. Here are three choices for your training preferences:

1.       We train at your location

2.       We train your team “off-site” at TPO or another location

3.       Your team joins other clients at one of our pre-scheduled training programs (click here)

“I was NOT looking forward to sitting through a program on harassment, but this was fantastic, so much more than I expected and really enlightening!”

Our programs have been fully translated into Spanish, and are presented by TPO's bi-lingual staff.

To schedule your organization’s training, contact TPO:

Phone: 800.277.8448   •   Fax: 831.658.0201

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2003 Monterey Peninsula Business Excellence Award Winner

Meeting your needs and exceeding your expectations!

TPO 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 relations.

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2008. 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.