n  2010 Employment Law and Leadership Conference Recap

n  Training_Calendar_

n  Going GREEN?

n  Cleaning the Office - With Care!

n  Welcome New Members

n  The Big Sur Land Trust

n  Greening 101



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 April '10


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 '10


Training Calendar

n FMLA/CFRA Compliance

March 09

n Workers Compensation

March 30

n Harassment and Discrimination at Work

April 13

n Excelling as a First Time Manager

April 22

Member Orientation

n Join us for breakfast

March 04

Over the years, we have learned that many times even our long term members don’t really understand all that membership has to offer.

Join us for a quick overview of how TPO Membership can save you not only time, but money!


The 2010 Employment Law & Leadership Conference was a huge success! Once again TPO and Littler worked diligently to provide balanced viewpoints on a variety of business and HR topics that over 200 participants have come to expect from this annual event. With over 10 Littler attorneys and 11 TPO consultants on hand – the following is a brief recap of the all-day event in 7 sections:

Didn’t attend the conference, but want to review the PowerPoint programs?

This year we went “green” and placed handouts on our website for those who wanted paper copies.
We also recycled all of the conference name badges!

TPO Members can click here to request access to a special link on TPO’s website to view all programs.

1. “ Littler’s Employment Law Update”

Dennis Brown, Esq. and Marlene Muraco, Esq., Littler attorneys, wowed the crowd with their update of 2009 employment-related events that will influence the business environment in 2010 and beyond. Some of the more impactful topics:

CA Issues

  • Electronic Discovery Act: Employers are advised to take great care with electronic storage practices of documents, including e-mails, voicemails and text messages, that later might be “exhibit A” in the courtroom.

  • Meal Periods: The CA Supreme Court did not take up this issue in 2009; however it is expected to be decided upon in 2010! In the meantime, employers are advised to analyze the risk/reward in this area. The risk-averse employer will likely want to continue ensuring meal periods are taken until the CA Supreme Court renders their decision.

  • Vacation/PTO/Sick Deductions: Clarification has been provided that employers may deduct vacation/PTO/sick from exempt employee’s banks of time in any increment (does not need to be at least 4 hours). Employers are reminded to consider the employee-relations implications of such a practice prior to revising policies.

  • Tips: A 2009 case clarified that part-time hourly shift supervisors could share in the Starbucks tip jar.

  • Furlough Days: In the past, private employers were not allowed to require a day off with a deduction for that day from an exempt employee’s salary (furlough day). However, now the CA Division of Labor Standard Enforcement (DLSE) appears to allow such a practice understanding that this is a commonly desired practice in today’s economy. Another option employers are using in this economy is reducing the salary of exempt employees, and still letting the employee maintain the control to get the job done regardless of the number of hours/days it takes.

Federal Issues

  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Provides that unlawful acts of pay discrimination occur each time discriminatory compensation is paid. In this case though the pay discrimination went back nearly two decades, the recovery only goes back two years.

  • FMLA Amendments: Expands military exigencies leave for those in the Armed Forces, not just National Guard and Reserves; also clarifies that such leave only applies to duty in foreign countries.

  • Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act: Adds genetic information to the list of discriminatory actions. Note: CA has prohibited such discrimination for years.

“You guys do a great job. I left with so much good info.” – Conference Participant

2. “Four Generations at Work! – Surviving Multigenerational Diversity”

LaTonya Olivier, TPO Sr. Consultant, enlightened her audiences with her particular infectious zeal for understanding the differences of what is currently an unprecedented time in American history where 4 distinct generations are together in the workplace.

MATURES (born prior to 1946)

  • They Value: dedication, sacrifice, hard work, conformity, stability, security and respect for authority.

  • They Want (so give them): security & stability, a “you’ve earned it” message, and stress your need for their experience.

BABY BOOMERS (born 1946-1964)

  • They Value: work, self, involvement, community and personal gratification.

  • They Want (so give them): career enhancement, growth & success; face-to-face communication (can be phone); and create a movement by promoting big picture of how they serve your customers.

GEN XERS (born 1965-1980)

  • They Value: change, tecnoliteracy, skepticism, autonomy, and fierce independence.

  • They Want (so give them): a work/life balance, avoid bureaucracy & politics, show them you offer something FUN and EXCITING, and give them access to decision makers.

MILLENIALS (born 1981-1999)

  • They Value: confidence, tecno-fused, moral, collaborative, egalitarian and civil-minded.

  • They Want (so give them): a “you are special and unique” message, high level of technology, an opportunity to do meaningful work, and listen to what they say.

“Awesome! LaTonya rocks!” – Enthusiastic Conference Participant

3. “Blogging, Sexting & Social Media”

Adam Fiss, Esq. and Richard Leasia, Esq., Littler attorneys, provided a provocative look into the realities of how technology is changing the workplace. The two main focus areas on this topic were Employee and Employer Use/Abuse.

1. Employee Use/Abuse of Social Networking

“You are Wasting Company Time!” Each employer must determine what amount (if any) of personal use is appropriate. This is no different than making excessive personal phone calls, using the copier for personal use or checking personal e-mails while on the employer’s time.

  • Tip: For the employer who wants its IT person to block Facebook and other similar sites, that won’t solve the issue of employees using personal devices to access such sites.

  • Employee’s Personal Devices (cell phones, PDA’s, etc.): Employers should consider whether eliminating/limiting the use of personal devices in the workplace is in alignment with company policy and culture.

  • A stat: 77% of regular Facebook users log in at work.

“Not While at Work!” If the personal use of company computers is allowed (either during work time or during non-worked time), then the next issue becomes if the content viewed, typed and even shared is appropriate in the workplace. Typical policies that address not viewing/sending information that are offensive to others and/or violate a harassment/discrimination policy will cover most employers in this area.

2. Employer Use/Abuse

“Let’s Check Applicants’ Sites Before Hiring Them!” 22% of individuals with hiring responsibility had checked applicants’ social networking sites. 34% of this group responded that they did not hire the person based on what they found (Career Builder, 2009). Be careful as this information:

  • May not even be your applicant.

  • May (and usually will) provide information that is not job related.

  • May provide information that is not a lawful basis for a hiring decision.

  • If obtained from an outside source, requires Fair Credit Reporting Act authorization.

Tip: NEVER use devious means to get access to a social networking site.

Creating a Policy: All employers need some type of policy, but there is no one right policy for every employer! Take the time to consider the needs, dynamics and culture of your organization in a thoughtful manner so that the policy is most useful in the long run.

“Very useful, relevant information” – Conference Participant

4. “8 Ways to Enjoy Being a Leader – Again!”

Sue Kettmann, TPO Sr. Consultant, encouraged participants to take a deep breath and refresh themselves with a broad stroke overview of why Leadership matters, how it makes being a manager or supervisor more rewarding, and how to fit it into a busy schedule. Things you can work on to refresh your leadership skills:

Building Trust

  • Practicing Empathetic Listening instead of slipping into pretending, ignoring or selecting what you hear.

  • Remembering that every interaction with my peers and direct reports is a withdrawal, neutral or a deposit into their emotional bank account with me.

Managing Time

  • Using the 4 Quadrants to steer my activities towards Quadrant 2, Important and Not Urgent.

  • Paying attention to the more effective Circle of Influence rather than my often huge Circle of Concern.

Supervising Effectively

  • Being a transition figure who replaces negative behaviors with positive ones.

  • Trying out the Six Levels of Supervision in order to lead people towards growth and competence.

Taking Care of Me

  • Using the Balance Wheel to make sure that if one or more areas of my life are out of sync that I work to get back into balance.

  • Crafting a Personal Mission Statement to remind myself why I am working here in the first place.

“Sue’s module was probably the best and most useful I’ve been to in 2 years” – Conference Participant

5. “Labor-Management Law and Unionization in the Obama Administration”

Adam Fiss, Esq. and Richard Leasia, Esq., Littler attorneys, provided historical context to Labor-Management (union) topics while also sharing views on what may happen on a legislative front in the current Administration.

  • Union membership of the US workforce, which includes the public sector, went from 33% in 1950 (with 33% from the private sector), to 12% in 2008 (with 7.5% from the private sector). The public disapproval rating of unions has increased in the past several years; however, unions are winning elections (67% in 2008) likely due to the more strategic practices of unions.

  • The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is federal legislation with main provisions including: card check certification instead of secret ballot elections, mandatory interest arbitration if negotiations do not result in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) within 130 days of certification and increased penalties for employer violations. Whether or not EFCA passes is highly dependent upon complex political elections and appointments.

  • The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is expected to focus its efforts on reversing prior Board decisions of the Bush Administration, to facilitate union organizing, and change the “balance of power” between labor and management.

Recommendations: 1) Assess current vulnerability from an internal (do you have positive employee relations) and an external (are you in a vulnerable industry and/or location) perspective. 2) Prepare for a rapid response to card signing and/or quickie elections by having a response plan in place. 3) Know the laws and pay attention to politics!

“The information provided was tremendous.” – Conference Participant

6. Panel Discussion

With 3 Employment Law Attorneys from Littler and 2 Senior HR Consultants from TPO, this one-hour program took questions from the audience and answered them from both an HR leadership and Employment Law perspective. An example of one of the questions:

Q: We are thinking of providing an H1N1 Flu Vaccine Clinic on our site. What should we consider?
A: Littler Attorneys stated that such vaccination must be provided as a program employees can voluntarily opt in to and that any complications from the vaccine itself might even fall under a Worker’s Compensation claim. TPO HR Consultants added that “optional or voluntary” programs provided in the workplace might send subtle messages to employees (pressure) – so care should be taken to avoid the perception of required participation, or any repercussions for any employees who do not opt into the voluntary program.

“I really like the panel discussions because people ask questions that I hadn't thought of (and probably should have).” – Conference Participant

7. One-on-One Clinics

Participants had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Littler attorneys to discuss specific questions and obtain timely assistance from top-notch attorneys! One participant even commented that she asked the same question of a few attorneys, just to see if she could gain any additional perspective. These one-on-one clinics represent a phenomenal value added for conference participants to come prepared with their unique questions and issues and gain the qualified opinion of Littler legal experts!

“I loved the one-on-one session with the lawyers!” – Conference Participant

Thanks to everyone who completed the conference evaluation. We appreciate your opinions summarized below. Each year we consider this important feedback as we continue to bring you the best possible Employment Law & Leadership Conference experience possible! The results:

Overall Satisfaction with the Conference.................

 0% Low

 7% Medium

 93% High

As more and more organizations go green, what is the best approach to this new responsibility to lead organizational sustainability initiatives?

Over the next several months, our TPO newsletter will present a series of articles to explore the many roles, approaches and opportunities of “going green.” We will also post useful tips on www.tpohr.com.

To get you going, this month’s issue will focus on a general discussion of corporate sustainability as well as practical first steps anyone in an organization can take to begin implementing green operating practices.

A leader in the field of Organization Development, W. Warner Burke, observed that corporations are shaped by the ecosystems, societies, economies, and cultures within which they operate. Likewise, corporations are capable of responding to and influencing current and emerging social, economic, ecological, and cultural conditions because of their economic scale, operational expertise, and innovation proficiency, as well as their incentive to shape the environments in which they operate. Without a doubt, businesses must respond if they hope to maintain their markets and continue to thrive.

“Corporate sustainability is no longer just a matter of philanthropy, public relations, and/or compliance; smart companies will gain long-term competitive advantage by using an integrated strategy to fuel business opportunities and innovation, and to ensure the long-term availability of resources.”

The bottom line is that green business is smart business. Greening an organization enhances profitability and competitive advantage in the marketplace. It helps put your organization ahead of the curve in responding to emerging expectations and environmental requirements from customers, vendors, suppliers, and regulating agencies. A solid green brand attracts not only customers, but also the highest quality employees to your company and serves to motivate and retain those employees. Green companies exemplify the principle of sustainability by operating their businesses to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs, thereby strengthening their prospects of long-term success.

The decision to begin environmental programs can take many forms and can be championed by anyone within the organization including executives, HR professionals, EHS staff, line managers, individual contributors, or any combination of constituents. There are several opportunities to make choices that are better for the environment and, ultimately, for the company in terms of reduced costs, improved operating efficiencies, enhanced branding and public relations, and increased employee recruitment and retention.

Many businesses begin their journey toward environmental sustainability by initially focusing on tactical ways to improve internal operations.

Check out www.tpohr.com for great ideas to help you “Go Green!”

The best recipe for success includes these ingredients:

  • Start small and build on initial success.

  • Give everyone enough time to understand and embrace company sustainability goals.

  • Enlist stakeholders across the organization to gather ideas, generate enthusiasm, and gain buy-in.

Remember that the great work and time you put in up front in forging relationships, building enthusiasm and supporting understanding will pay you big dividends over time.

While corporate sustainability initiatives create an important opportunity, many organizations find themselves grappling with this relatively new business challenge because they do not yet possess the experience, knowledge, skills and tools necessary to operate and lead in this area. With over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing corporate sustainability programs, TPO is here to help you succeed on this exciting journey!

  • Stay tuned for the next issue of our newsletter for an in-depth discussion of how you can multiply your bandwidth and effectiveness while gaining support for green initiatives through Green Teams.

Meanwhile, please give Michele Reilly, TPO Consultant and Sustainability Expert, a call or email: micheler@tpohr.com if you would like to schedule a:


It IS Easy Being Green!

$500 VALUE



If one of your New Year Resolutions was to get better organized, clean out file cabinets and drawers or make more room around the office, think C and C before you begin. That would be Cleaning and Care. Tossing can be addictive once you start to see empty space in those jammed-up files and boxes. But it is important to be sure that what goes out, can legally do so.

A quick review of legally compliant cleaning can help you to stay on track knowing there will be no tears to shed later when you need to produce a document that is shredded. If you have a TPO HR Administration Kit, you can find all the “purging” information that you need in the final tab labeled “General.” If not, here are some general guidelines to get you started and be sure to call a TPO consultant if you have specific, additional questions:

Keep for 5 years

  • First Aid records for job injuries, and drug/alcohol test results

  • Affirmative Action documents (if applicable)

Keep for 4 years

  • Payroll records, including individual wage records, payment dates and pay periods

Keep for 3 years

  • Wage records, including time cards, shift schedules, employee hours and days

  • Child labor certificates (for hires under age 18)

  • Union and employee contracts (if applicable)

Keep for 2 years

  • Recruitment records, including job applications, job inquiries received, applicant ID records, help wanted ads

  • Employee Personnel files including disciplinary notices, evaluations, promotions and demotions, terminations and recalls, training

And be sure to keep documentation for any claims, investigations and legal proceedings until the final disposition of the case, which can sometimes be a long, long time. Now…get back to that cleaning!

Give us a call with any questions about records retention or any other employment questions you have!

n Apex Signs & Graphics

n hayashi & wayland accounting & consulting

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!


TPO: The Big Sur Land Trust has worked with TPO for over 15 years and been a TPO member for almost 10 of those. How do you feel TPO contributes to BSLT's success?


Bill Leahy, Executive Director: "TPO brings a full service one-stop-shop human resources department to our organization without us having to hire, at great cost, human resources personnel. TPO provides us the expertise we need to solve difficult personnel challenges, address ever-complex legal standards, craft job descriptions, initiate recruitments, provide training and do day-to-day trouble shooting. Because of the diverse set of organizations TPO works with, they also bring to the table far more creative strategies to address human resource matters than we could ever develop on our own."


Founded in 1978, the mission of The Big Sur Land Trust is to conserve the significant lands and waters of California’s Central Coast for all generations. The Land Trust has protected more than 30,000 acres of land since its inception. The Big Sur Land Trust is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) governed by a board of 17 trustees, operated by a staff of 14, and supported by hundreds of volunteers and members. Generous donations and public conservation funds finance the Land Trust’s conservation work. Under its current leadership, our mission has been coupled with a new expanded vision, one that sees a future for our communities in which rich natural resources, working landscapes, prospering human communities and the unique character of place are conserved and cared for through collaborative partnerships and mutual support. We have expanded our scope and impact by introducing innovative approaches to conservation work and by developing a wide network of community partners to engage in these efforts. The Land Trust is committed to pursuing land and water conservation work that strengthens our communities and inspires a stewardship ethic so that Monterey County can maintain its unique and special place in the world. The goal and commitment of the Land Trust is to pursue resource conservation that supports the well-being of land and people and sustains our region’s unique quality of life for us all.

For more information please visit www.bigsurlandtrust.org.


Green Business is Smart Business...

To get you going, this briefing will focus on a general discussion of corporate sustainability as well as practical steps to start implementing green operating practices.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stay Tuned for More Details

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Employment Upd@te is a publication of  TPO HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT. Copyright ©2004-2010. 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.