The legal landscape facing employers seems as difficult to navigate as it has ever been.  Keeping track of the ever-changing patchwork of federal, state and local laws governing the workplace may often seem like a full-time job whether you are a human resources professional, in-house attorney or  business owner.  Change appears to be the one constant.  As President Trump's first term comes to an end, employers will continue to closely track the changes taking place at the NLRB, the DOL and the EEOC.  At the same time, a number of states will continue introducing new laws and regulations governing workplaces across the country, making it more important than ever for employers to pay attention to the bills pending in the legislatures of the states where they operate.  This complimentary webinar series, led by Conn Maciel Carey’s labor and employment attorneys, will focus on a host of the most challenging and timely issues facing employers, examining past trends and looking ahead at the issues most likely to arise.

 

To register for an individual webinar, click the registration link in the program descriptions below. To register for the entire 2020 Employment Series, click here to send an email request, and we will get you registered. If you miss any of the programs this year or missed any in prior years, here is a link to our webinar archive.

 

January 15, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

California Employment Law Update for 2020: New Legal Requirements and Practical Compliance Strategies Every HR Professional and Manager Should Know

Presented by Andrew J. Sommer & Megan S. Shaked

2020 brings significant changes for California employers, from a new test for determining independent contractor status to a ban on no rehire agreements and revamped reporting standard for serious workplace injuries. This webinar will review compliance obligations for companies doing business in California, as well as discuss the practical impact of these new laws and best practices for avoiding potential employment-related claims.

Participants will learn about the following:

  • New ABC test used in determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor for purposes of the wage and hour violations and unemployment claims

  • Legislation prohibiting an employer from requiring, in settling an employment dispute, that an employee agree not to obtain future employment with that employer

  • Ban on mandatory arbitration agreements covering discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and Labor Code

  • Extension of the deadline for filing complaints with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing from one to three years

  • Ban on workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros and braids, that have a disparate impact based on race

  • New law clarification the requirements for lactation accommodations in the workplace

  • Increase in Paid Family Leave benefits, from six to eight weeks

  • Wage and hour and industry specific employment developments

  • Workplace safety developments, including the amended standard for reporting serious injuries and illnesses in the workplace

  • Current minimum wage requirements both statewide and on local level


The webinar will also address steps employers can take to achieve compliance including evaluating current personnel practices and updating employee handbooks, employment agreements and training protocol.

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

February 20, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Illinois and DC Area State Law Update

Presented by Aaron R. Gelb and Daniel C. Deacon

 

The New Year brings a host of changes and challenges for Illinois employers as the legislature passed and Governor Pritzker signed, in 2019, a variety of new labor and employment laws that go into effect in 2020. These new laws promise to keep employers busy as they revise and update employee handbooks, develop new training programs, reevaluate their arbitration agreements and deal with the decriminalization of marijuana. Beginning in January 2020, employers will be faced with an expanded Illinois Human Rights Act that applies beyond the physical workplace, covers non-employee contractors and protects against discrimination based on perceived (in addition to actual) protected status. There are also special new rules that apply to restaurants, bars and coffee shops as well as disclosure requirements that will necessitate notifying the Department of Human Rights of adverse judgments in employment discrimination or harassment matters. The Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act has also been amended and a recently signed “trailer bill” has clarified what employers should do if they wish to prohibit the use of marijuana as part of their workplace drug and alcohol policy.

 

Likewise, the District of Columbia has enacted or is considering a host of changes that employers need to keep track of in 2020.  D.C.’s Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 imposes certain training and notice requirements on all employers of tipped employees.  The deadline to implement that training and to provide the requisite notice, however, has not yet been determined, as a majority of the Act’s requirements have not been approved through budget funding, including those related to mandatory sexual harassment training. The only provisions of the Act that are currently in effect, besides the repeal of the Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2018 / Ballot Initiative 77, are related to employee and manager training on D.C.’s Minimum Wage Act Revision Act and third-party payroll and wage reporting requirements.  Furthermore, under D.C.’s Paid Leave Act, private sector employers began paying a .62% tax on July 1, 2019 to fund paid-leave benefits.  Beginning on July 1, 2020, eligible employees will be eligible for paid leave benefits under the law, which provides up to eight weeks of paid parental leave to bond with a new child, six weeks of paid family leave to care for an ill family member with a serious health condition, and two weeks of paid medical leave to care for one's own serious health condition.  July 1, 2020 also marks the date that the D.C. Minimum Wage will increase to $15.00 per hour.  Finally, the D.C. City Council is considering two bills that would eliminate marijuana testing of employees at work.

Participants in this webinar will learn:

 

  • What type of harassment training must be provided to employees and when;

  • Which policies and procedures should be reviewed and/or revised;

  • What steps Illinois employers should take if they wish to continue drug testing for cannabis;

  • What they can and cannot do with respect salary inquiries and employee discussions about wages;

  • Potential changes to D.C. drug testing laws

  • Tips to comply with D.C.’s Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018, the Paid Leave Act, and the increased minimum wage

 

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

March 25, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Whistleblower/Retaliation Issues and Strategies

Presented by Kara M. Maciel, Aaron R. Gelb, and Lindsay A. DiSalvo

Over the past few years, employers have seen a significant uptick in retaliation claims filed by employees and investigated by federal agencies.  For example, while roughly one third of the charges filed with the EEOC in 2010 included a retaliation claim, that number shot past 50% by 2018—over half of all charges filed.  Employers have likewise seen a similar increase in the number of whistleblower claims filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.   Indeed, the statistics from OSHA paint an even more alarming picture with a 74% increase from 2012 to 2018 in the number of complaints filed, the vast majority of which were filed under Section 11(c) of the OSH Act.   Once a complaint is received, the employer is given a chance to explain why it lacks merit.  These responses are an opportunity for the employer to provide information so the agency charged with investigating the complaint can close its file, whether that means OSHA decides an onsite inspection is unnecessary or the EEOC dismisses the charge of discrimination.  These responses can, however, create a written record of admissions for which OSHA or the EEOC could hold the employer accountable.  Employers should thus be strategic about the information they share at this early stage and should ensure there is a procedure in place for managing and developing these responses.  In addition, from a more proactive perspective, there are also steps employers can take to try to avoid these types of complaints by addressing employee concerns promptly and effectively.  

 

Participants will learn about the following:

  • The applicable federal whistleblower and anti-retaliation laws and their legal frameworks;

  • How whistleblower and retaliation claims are evaluated by federal agencies, like the EEOC and OSHA;

  • Strategies employers can use to effectively respond to complaints of retaliation; and

  • Proactive measures employers can take to avoid employee complaints.

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

April 22, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Impact of the #MeToo Movement: Changes in Enforcement and State Law

Presented by Kara M. Maciel and Lindsay A. DiSalvo

Over the past three years, we have seen the continued momentum of the #MeToo Movement and its impacts – beyond the immediate and direct effects of the specific allegations – have taken shape. Back in 2017, the #MeToo Movement was invigorated by a slew of high-profile allegations of sexual harassment and assault and tens of thousands of people, largely women, voicing their own experiences on social media using the hashtag “Metoo.” In the wake of the prominence of the Movement and its influence on the discourse surrounding issues of harassment, the states and the federal government have taken action to tackle what they see as the underlying issues that foster harassment. And one of the main areas of focus has been preventing and addressing sexual harassment in the work environment.

Indeed, several states, such as New York and Illinois, have passed laws requiring employers to implement such things as sexual harassment prevention policies and training at their facilities – some of the laws even specifically describe what those policies and/or trainings must contain. Other states have also implemented such restrictions as bans on including sexual harassment claims in mandatory arbitration agreements. Simultaneously, we have seen an uptick in the number of sexual harassment charges filed and pursued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Thus, it is essential for employers to understand the legal requirements and restrictions surrounding this issue to ensure compliance with federal and state law.

Participants will learn about the following:

 

  • The legal standards for sexual harassment and their nuances;

  • New state law requirements for sexual harassment prevention policies and training;

  • General recommendations for anti-harassment policies, complaint procedures, and training; and

  • Best Practices for investigating and addressing complaints of sexual harassment

 

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

May 12, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Are your Websites ADA Compliant?  What Employers Need to Know

Presented by Jordan B. Schwartz and Megan S. Shaked
 

Recently, there have been a slew of lawsuits filed across the country against hotels, restaurants, stores, clubs and other places of public accommodation alleging that their websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). And, there is no reason to think that these types of lawsuits will continue to increase. Typically, these lawsuits allege that the websites either (i) fail to identify and describe wheelchair accessible features at the property in sufficient detail; or (2) cannot be used by individuals with visual and/or hearing impairments.

Businesses also continue to be faced with tricky and complex issues under the ADA regarding service animals, customer allergies, and effective communication methods, each of which often result in contentious lawsuits. These lawsuits are expensive, time consuming, and a drain on your business. Further, the number of these types of lawsuits is increasing exponentially, with serial plaintiffs filing dozens of these suits each and every day. This presentation will present practical tips and cost-effective strategies for managing the risk of ADA-related litigation in this ever-evolving area of the law.

Participants will learn about the following:

  • The broad scope of disability access laws and how employers are most often affected

  • Practical tips on website accessibility

  • Guidance on accommodating service and emotional support animals

  • Best practices when dealing with customers with severe allergies and autoimmune conditions such as celiac

  • How to best address customers who ask for hearing and visual accommodations

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

June 24, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Withdrawal Liability and Pensions

Presented by Mark M. Trapp

This webinar will address the significant challenges faced by companies participating in multiemployer plans. Specifically, it will help unionized employers understand and analyze what is often the most critical challenge facing their business – multiemployer pension withdrawal liability. 

 

Participants will learn about the following:

  • Specific strategies to address this issue

  • The latest developments in litigating withdrawal liability assessments, including the determining the highest contribution rate and calculating the credit for a prior partial withdrawal

  • Current legislative environment for multiemployer pension plans and issues

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

July 15, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

The State of the Law Regarding Marijuana and Drug Testing​

Presented by Jordan B. Schwartz and Daniel C. Deacon

For better or for worse, America is going green and its acceptance of marijuana is increasing rapidly. However, new regulatory developments regarding medical and recreational marijuana have created a host of compliance concerns for employers. While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation giving medical marijuana usage the green light. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. And, several states have enacted laws making the possession of small amounts of the drug a civil, not criminal, offense.

With the potential for more employees to be under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs at the workplace, what can employers do to maintain a safe workplace? What restrictions are there for testing employees for drug use? Can employer really impose a drug-free workplace policy in light of these seemingly pro-marijuana laws?

This webinar will explore the changing legal landscape concerning marijuana, analyze potential issues related to zero-tolerance policies, review tips for developing effective drug testing policies, and best practices for handling employees who test positive marijuana in states where it has been legalized to some extent. More specifically, you will learn:

  • The changing legal landscape regarding medical and recreational marijuana in states around the country and the District of Columbia

  • How state marijuana laws affect your federal compliance obligations under the DOT and other agencies

  • Which state laws provide explicitly for employee non-discrimination protections

  • Whether medical marijuana usage may qualify as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act or state disability discrimination laws

  • How to address off-duty use of marijuana in states where it is legal

  • Effective solutions to drug test for marijuana and drafting drug testing policies

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

August 19, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

OSHA and Labor & Employment Law Issues Associated with Employee Discipline

Presented by Aaron R. Gelb, Mark M. Trapp, and Megan S. Shaked

Disciplining employees, a critical tool in enforcing workplace rules, has the potential to create problems, especially when relationships deteriorate and emotions run high. Even in situations where an employer is disciplining for the right reason, if it is handled incorrectly, a lawsuit or labor grievance could turn out to be costly. But in circumstances that warrant discipline, employers cannot just sit back. Productivity, employee morale, workplace culture, employee safety and health, and meeting goals are just some of the many considerations impacted by an effective employee discipline program. Consistent employee discipline can also benefit employers in litigation, union grievances, and inspections and investigations by the EEOC and OSHA.

This webinar will give you a blueprint to lawfully discipline employee and mitigate the risk of future litigation. ​Participants in this webinar will learn about:

  • The legal implications of disciplining employees

  • Tips for drafting effective discipline policies

  • Effective investigations into performance issues and misconduct

  • Strategies for carrying out effective discipline in a legally sound manner

  • Ways that employee discipline can be used offensively in litigation

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

September 16, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

NLRB Update

Presented by Kara M. Maciel and Mark M. Trapp
 

With a solid Republican majority in place for most of the Trump Administration, the National Labor Relations Board is methodically establishing or re-establishing many pro-employer precedents. We will discuss the status of the Board and its Members, its prospects for remaining in Republican hands, and the impact of its most important rulings. We will also discuss several ongoing NLRB rulemakings including joint employment, election rules, and union access to an employer’s private property. This webinar will address these and other timely issues, equipping employers to understand the potential impact on their employees and workplace.

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

October 13, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Conducting Background Checks: Federal, State, and Local Law Considerations

Presented by Andrew J. Sommer and Daniel C. Deacon

There are an array of federal, state, and local laws that employers must consider when implementing background checks. Notably, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) imposes strict disclosure and authorization requirements that employers must follow prior to obtaining any consumer report on an applicant or employee, including background checks. Additionally, several state and local laws impose restrictions on an employer’s ability to conduct background checks, including when employers can ask applicants about their criminal history and what type of convictions may be considered in making employment-related decisions. In this webinar, participants will learn about:

  • The disclosure and authorization requirements under the FCRA

  • Tips to comply with the FCRA when taking an adverse employment action

  • State and federal law considerations in implementing background checks, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; and

  • State and Local Ban the Box laws prohibiting inquiries into criminal history until later in the application process

 

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

November 11, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Federal Wage & Hour Update

Presented by Kara M. Maciel and Jordan B. Schwartz

Wage and hour law continues to evolve as we head into 2020. Most prominently, the new overtime rule will finally become effective, make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). We will discuss this final rule, which is the first update since 2004, and how it revises the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses (and commissions) towards meeting the salary level.

We will also discuss how, in 2020, employers will have more clarity and flexibility about which perks they can include in workers’ “regular rate” of pay, which is used to calculate overtime premiums under the FLSA based on another new rule announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Other wage and hour issues, while not the subject of new rules, continue to relevant as we move into 2020. For example, manager misclassification suits have been causing headaches for employers for years, in part because of the high potential for damages and the relative ease of obtaining conditional certification under the FLSA. Likewise, in the current working climate, smartphones and teleworking have made it incredibly easy for hourly employees to work “off the clock,” which has led to a substantial rise in these types of lawsuits. These are just some of the significant wage and hour issues we will be discussing.

Participants will learn about the following:

  • Specific strategies to deal with unexpected challenges stemming from the new overtime rule

  • Proactive measures to stave off potential misclassification claims

  • The proper way to factor supplemental compensation into an employee’s overtime rate

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

December 16, 2020 10:00am PT 1:00pm ET

Delaying Retirement: Impact of America's Aging Workforce on OSHA and Employment Matters

 

Presented by Jordan B. SchwartzAmanda Strainis-Walker and Beeta B. Lashkari

Nearly 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year, and many cases go unreported. At the same time, the #MeToo movement has brought renewed focus on sexual harassment in the workplace. While there are no OSHA standards for workplace violence or sexual harassment, the General Duty Clause requires employers to provide employees a place of employment free from recognized serious hazards. Over the years, OSHA has issued General Duty Clause citations to employers after incidents of workplace violence or harassment.

Recently, one OSHA Regional office initiated an inspection after a pediatric services employee was sexually assaulted by a client’s father after complaints were made to the employer by other employees about the alleged abuser.  The EEOC, meanwhile, continues to focus on sexual harassment, having recovered nearly $70 million for employees claiming sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.  The question remains, however, whether OSHA will expand efforts to investigate and/or address sexual harassment, particularly in those workplaces where it is foreseeable or preventable.

 

Participants will learn about the following:

  • Enforcement priorities relative to sexual harassment and workplace violence at the EEOC and OSHA

  • Best practices related for designing effective anti-harassment policies, developing manager & employee harassment training programs, and implementing compliant investigation procedures

  • Tips for creating an organizational culture in which harassment is not tolerated and ensuring employees are held accountable

  • Steps that employers can take to develop and implement an effective workplace violence prevention program

 

This program is valid for 1.00 PDCs for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM.

Register here.

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