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HR In California

August 1-2, 2013
This event has ended. Click Enter Event to view the archive.
The State of California has a unique set of regulations and labor laws. Learn important information about legislation that is relevant to businesses headquartered in this state, as well as organizations located in other states with employees located in California. Do you want that competitive edge in your professional space? Do you want to assert your knowledge of current HR topics and trends within your domain? Why not set yourself apart from your peers and get certified with and the Institute for Human Resources (IHR). Many HR professionals have a general HR degree or certification with a broad knowledge of HR functionalities. The Institute for Human Resources (IHR) is the only institute that focuses on niche areas within Human Resources. A specialty certification increases your market value, adds impact to your work experience, furthers your knowledge, and recognizes you as an industry leader and/or expert in the field. The Institute for Human Resources (IHR), the certification and accreditation process arm of, has a program for you!

Conference Webcast Schedule
David Whitmarsh, Vice President of R and R, Revenue and Research(

This 15-minute webcast will provide information on the Institute for Human Resources: HR in California certification program.

The purpose of this webcast is to introduce attendees to the virtual program and will review some background information on as well as the Institute for Human Resources, which has a total of 23 different certification programs.

All of the webcasts (with the exception of this introductory one) are approved for HRCI recertification credits - both as webcasts and as eLearning credits. These credits are tracked on the individual's membership profile and this will be reviewed as well.

The Institute for Human Resources: HR in California also has its own certification program. This session will provide an overview of the program, what features are included free of charge as well as what purchase options are available.

It will review all of the webcasts being presented and how to register for specific webcasts, which may have been added to the program since initial event registration. Attendees of webcasts will also be able to post questions to the speakers and this feature will be demonstrated.

The program also includes a virtual exhibit hall, which includes a floor featuring the organizations of all of the speakers as well as other vendors who have products and services of relevance to the California HR community. This webcast will walk you through how to visit the exhibit hall to learn more from the exhibitors, download any information they may have made available, and chat with them live or leave contact information.

Leslie Pearce, PHR, ExecutiveVice President, Employee Benefit Sales(Bolton & Company)
Jacqueline Roth, Benefits Consultant(Bolton & Company)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one of the largest changes to impact the health care and insurance industry. It was originally a 2700+ page bill, now 900, that was designed as a large framework for major changes that are being made concerning the insurance claims process, individual requirements for health insurance, and employer cost sharing provisions and mandates. Many of these mandates directly impact the usual way of doing business for employers, especially those who are determined to be a "large" employer. Since it’s passing in March 2010 there have been many changes, repeals and items which are still pending. With so much uncertainty and information swirling around Health Care Reform, no doubt people are confused and unsure on what to do.

This presentation helps to clarify the law so everybody has a better understanding of their best course of action moving forward. This presentation focuses on a look back at how we got to where we currently are, and a look at what is ahead at what is to come. With a concentration on compliance and readiness it is our goal to take a proactive approach in educating employers on what decisions need to be made and when.

As guidance is continually coming out from the IRS, DOL and HHS we are mindful that all employers are in a different position with demographics and goals. This presentation is appropriate for anyone who needs a refresh on what matters now, or is currently confused at what decisions need to be made.

Helene Wasserman, Shareholder(Littler Mendelson)
Monica Quinn, Shareholder(Littler Mendelson)

Leaves of absence issues arising in connection with serious health conditions and disabilities, whether work-related or not, have long created headaches for employers. These headaches have increased in light of developing new law under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and California regulations. This session will focus on some of the most challenging issues that employers commonly face in applying both state and federal law to leaves of absence involving extended medical leave, pregnancy disability leave, workers’ compensation leave and leaves of absence related to disability accommodation, as well as the interaction of such leaves and how each affect employees’ requests.

It will address how to handle requests for leaves of absence at all stages in the process. Eligibility for various leaves and any requisite documentation will be outlined, as well as requests for intermittent and reduced schedule leaves and circumstances under which transfers may be requested or permissible. Certification issues will be examined, such as when second opinions may be requested. Also, reinstatement obligations and fitness for duty requirements will be discussed.

In addition, the session will explain how to address disability accommodation issues in the workplace by outlining in detail how to appropriately engage in the interactive process, from recommendations on what documentation to request from the employee to how to best document communications with the employee, and how to determine what, if any, reasonable accommodation is needed. Best practices for evaluating such requests will also be addressed.

Lastly, the session will address the propriety of medical inquiries and exams and explain best practices for employers utilizing such processes.

Lauraine Bifulco, President(Vantaggio HR)

Distinguishing between Independent Contractors and Employees has never been an easy task for employers. And while the consequences for getting it wrong have always been significant, the stakes just got higher. The Federal government has allocated $25 million and 100 new investigators to "detect and deter inappropriately classified independent contractors," and they project that this effort will raise $7 billion from employers over the next decade. They mean business…

In California, recent legislation has not only increased fines and penalties, but created other unpleasant and costly consequences for employers. Not surprisingly, audits are on the rise, and the outcome has not been great for employers. Now, more than ever, employers need to audit their own practices instead of waiting for a government agency to audit them.

Come refresh your understanding about the rules regarding independent contractor classification, understand the way penalties are calculated, learn some practical how-to's that will help you establish that someone is truly a contractor, and hear some real-life audit horror stories that you want to avoid at all cost!

Learning Objectives:
• A detailed review of the various government agency rules regarding independent contractor vs. employee classification.
• An explanation of how audits are triggered and how penalties are calculated.
• The pros and cons of participating in the IRS’s current amnesty program.
• How to take advantage of other government agency resources.
• Practical advice about how to correct misclassified individuals.
• Tips about performing your own internal audit.
• Learn about what filing 1099s really do for your situation.
• The true value of written independent contractor agreements.
• How to conduct yourself in the even of an actual audit.

Tresha Moreland, CEO, Publisher(HR C-Suite)

CEO’s rate California as the worse business friendly state in the Nation. This should come as no surprise to HR professionals in this state. After all, much of our communication includes, “Legally we can’t do that here” or “You are not in Kansas anymore. If you want to do that move to Texas.”

Often, as HR professionals, we feel that our hands are tied. That we can only to our best to adhere to the hundreds of employment laws. At the same, we brace ourselves for new legislation every year. Keeping our companies out of court alone is a full time job.

It is true that the dynamics in the state’s capital will make it unlikely that employment laws will change for the better anytime soon. What took years to build will take many more years to change.

Do we really need to resign ourselves to feeling like we are held hostage? Can we break free of feeling paralyzed? Is it possible to engage in proactive and innovative steps that will help our companies strike gold in this great state?

If you are tired of constantly feeling like your hands are tied and would like refreshing ideas on how you can influence business success in California, this session is for you.

In this session you will learn some surprising facts about California. You will be challenged to eliminate status quo thinking and fire up innovative critical thinking skills. You will be encouraged to stop thinking about what we CAN'T do and focus on what we CAN do to influence successful business in California.

Linda Robinson, Training & Development Manager(CPEhr)

In today’s complex and complicated workplace, it is inevitable that managers and Human Resources will be faced with difficult employment decisions. Whether the business resides in California, with the most employment laws in the United States, or elsewhere, investigations are the core to valid employment decisions. When an employee violates a workplace rule, when a harassment complaint is received, when an accident occurs at work, how the manager or Human Resources responds will have important and potentially far-reaching legal ramifications down the line. Investigations are “fact-finding” missions, with the intent of uncovering what happened during a particular incident. Investigations are an opportunity to assemble and organize all the facts surrounding any given event.

This assembly of facts in an organized format allows clear conclusions and supports decisions based on honest, unbiased information. A thorough, unbiased and well-documented investigation is a powerful tool that may directly contribute to the reductions in unlawful terminations claims, and an increase in acceptance of disciplinary decisions. Greater credibility is given to investigations when the investigator has been effectively trained and understands the process.

With so much depending upon investigations, a well-trained investigator is an absolute must for any organization.
This webinar will discuss:
• When to investigate
• Investigator qualifications
• Duty to investigate
• The step-by-step process necessary for an effective and legal investigation
• Typical questions to ask the witness, the accused, the complainant
• Recommended order for interviewing witnesses
• Pitfalls to avoid in the investigative process
• How to assess and summarize the data gathered
• What to NOT investigate

Jennifer Graff Lunski, Esq., Vice President-Compliance Officer(Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.)

Evaluate the impact of health care reform on your organization and ensure your employee benefit plans remain in compliance.

Health care reform and its major provisions take effect in 2014 and will have a major impact on employers’ benefits strategies. Employers must address compliance issues including recent San Francisco Health Care Ordinance revisions, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act audits, and the possible release of final Section 125 cafeteria plan regulations. Gain insight and practical information to successfully address the benefits and compliance issues resulting from health care reform over the next 12 months. Areas of discussion include:

The effective dates of the following provisions are uncertain as of 1/1/2013. Final effective dates will be determined by regulatory guidance yet to be issued.
IRS Nondiscrimination Rules Applicable to Fully-Insured Health Plans
• Employers with fully-insured plans are prohibited from providing benefits which discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees, similar to Section §105(h) rules which already apply to self-insured health plans.
• Effective date delayed - The IRS delayed the enforcement of these rules until plan years beginning sometime after the release of regulatory guidance. It is expected that the most likely effective date will be for plan years beginning 1/1/2014.
Automatic Enrollment
• Employers with more than 200 full-time employees must automatically enroll full-time employees in health coverage. Employees will have the option to opt out of automatic enrollment. DOL has stated rules will likely not be effective before 2015.
2012 - 2013
Summary of Benefits and Coverage
• Plans required to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) to all applicants and participants.
– Requirements that apply to communications to participants during an annual enrollment period are effective for open enrollment periods that begin on or after September 23, 2012.
– Requirements that apply to new enrollees other than during an open enrollment period are effective beginning on the first day of the first plan year that begins on or after September 23, 2012.
Clinical Effectiveness Research Fee
• All health plans will pay a fee to fund clinical effectiveness research effective for plan years beginning 11/1/2011. The fee will equal $1 per year per participant for the first year, and $2 per year after that until it sunsets in 2018.
– Health insurance companies will pay fee on behalf of fully-insured plans.
– Plan sponsors of self-funded plans must pay fee by July 31 of the year following the end of the plan year.
Report Plan Cost on W-2
• Employers must report the value of employees’ health coverage on their W-2. Reporting does not result in value of health insurance being treated as taxable income.
• Large employer reporting is mandatory for tax year 2012 (W-2s released January 2013).
• Smaller employers who filed fewer than 250 W-2s in the prior year are not required to report.
Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Tax
• An additional Medicare tax of 0.9% applies to taxpayers with earned income above $200,000 (single return) or
$250,000 (joint return). Employers are not required to match the increase.
• Employers must only withhold additional tax if employee’s compensation from that employer exceeds $200,000.
Limit on Health FSA
• Employee annual pre-tax reductions for contribution to a Section 125 health FSA capped at $2,500 per year (then
indexed annually to inflation) beginning with plan years starting on or after 1/1/2013.
Employee Notice Requirement
• Employers will be required to provide employees with a notice by 3/1/2013 which includes; information on health
insurance exchanges, premium subsidies and if the employer’s plan meets minimum coverage requirements.
• HHS to release model notice for employer use.
Reinsurance Fees
• Intended to help stabilize premiums in the individual market during the first three years the state based exchange is in
existence. Estimated costs are $60 to $90 per member per year in 2014, $40 to $60 per member per year in 2015 and
$25 to $35 per member per year in 2016. Fees are tax deductible.
Health Benefit Exchanges
• States will establish an insurance Exchange to facilitate the offering of approved, qualified health plans. Exchange
coverage initially offered only to individuals and small employers (50-100 employees, depending on the state).
• Federal government will establish an Exchange in states that choose not to implement a state run Exchange.
Individual Health Coverage Mandate
• Individuals who do not enroll in “minimum essential coverage” will pay a tax starting at $95 or 1% of income in 2014,
increasing to $695 or 2.5% of income per adult in 2017 (tax is half this amount for children).
Insurance Market Reforms
• Insurers in the individual and small-group markets subject to various rating and underwriting rules. Rules apply to
small group and individual health insurance plans sold both inside and outside an exchange.
– Guarantee issue and renewable basis, no health underwriting, no preexisting condition exclusions and limits on
permissible premium rating bands
– Premium rates can only vary premium according to specific criteria including individual or family coverage, rating
area and age.
Employer “Play or Pay” Penalties for not Providing Coverage to Full-Time Employees
• Applies to employers with 50 or more full-time employee equivalents (FTEs)
– Part-time employees are counted on a pro-rated basis to determine if employer is subject to the penalty but
employers are not required to cover part-time employees.
• Employers who offer health insurance to all full-time employees (30 hours per week) will pay $250 per month for
any full-time employee who opts out of the employer plans and purchases subsidized individual coverage through
the exchange.
• Employers who do not offer minimum essential health insurance to full-time employees would pay $2,000
annually multiplied by the total number of full-time employees (not counting first 30 employees).
No Lifetime Limits, Restricted Annual Limits
• Plans may not impose lifetime limits.
• Restrictions on annual limits begin in 2012, with no annual limits permitted beginning in 2014.
Cost-Sharing Limitations
• Fully insured small group health plans cannot impose deductibles that are higher than $2,000 for single coverage
and $4,000 for any other coverage.
– Carriers may offer deductibles higher than $2000 if necessary to meet bronze level coverage requirements.
• Out-of-pocket maximum limited to those applicable to HSA qualified high deductible health plans.
Limits on Waiting Periods
• Plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014 - Plan cannot impose any waiting period that exceeds 90 days.
Fees on Certain Plans/Insurers
• Annual fee on health insurance “issuers” (health insurance companies). Does not apply to self-funded plans.
Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage
• A health Insurance issuer offering coverage in the individual or small group market must offer those essential
benefits that are required to be offered on the state exchanges.
Wellness Incentives
• HIPAA limits on financial incentives for participation in wellness programs will increase to 30%.
Federal Premium Subsidies and Cost Sharing Reductions for Low and Middle-Income Individuals
• Premium subsidies & reduced cost sharing will be provided to individuals earning up to 400% of federal poverty
level who purchase individual health insurance through an Exchange. Individuals eligible for affordable employer
sponsored health insurance are not eligible.
Report to Government on Plan Coverage
• Employers offering minimum essential coverage must report to IRS about health coverage including the name of
each employee and dependent covered by plan, portion of premium paid by employer and other items.
• Summary of this information must be provided to each covered individual.
Coverage for Clinical Trials; No Discrimination
• Plan cannot deny participation in approved clinical trials or otherwise discriminate based on participating in trials.
Excise Tax on High-Cost Health Plans
• A 40% excise tax will apply to the cost of employee health coverage that exceeds $10,200 annually for single coverage
and $27,500 for family coverage.

Deborah Birndorf, Attorney(Birndorf Law Offices, APC)

The Institute for Human Resources will be presenting Sexual Harassment, Workplace Romances and Dress Codes: What Employers Need To Know to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Litigation as a Virtual Event on August 2, 2013 at to take place from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This seminar is a must for managers and supervisors! Deborah Birndorf Zeiler, an employment attorney with Birndorf Law Offices in Los Angeles, will be discussing recent discrimination cases brought by employees based on the employer’s dress code policies, and what kind of dress codes are enforceable. We will also discuss sexual harassment, consensual romances at work, potential employer liability, and what employers can and should do to protect themselves and their company.

Also to be discussed:
- What constitutes harassment/discrimination under the law.
- How a dress code policy can help your company avoid claims of harassment/discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, or similar grounds.
- How to handle employees with piercings and tattoos, and the flirtatious dresser.
- When to make exceptions for workers who rely on religious or health reasons for their piercings and tattoos.
- Recent court rulings and what they mean for your workplace.
- How workplace romance affects office morale, decision making and what to do when the romance ends.

Deborah Birndorf Zeiler is a frequent speaker on a variety of employment law topics before employer and human resource groups. She has been practicing law for twenty years, including more than ten years at major law firms in both Chicago and Los Angeles. Her practice primarily focuses on representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including harassment and discrimination claims, wage claims (including defense of wage and hours class actions), disability claims, and misappropriation of trade secrets. She also provides preventative counseling and advice, and drafts and reviews employment contracts, severance agreements, employee handbooks and personnel policies.

Debbie earned her B.A. from UCLA, an M.B.A. from NYU, and her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where she graduated in the top of her class. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the California State Bar, the Los Angeles Bar Association, and the Illinois Bar. Debbie is also an Instructor at UCLA Extension where she teaches Legal Aspects of Employee Relations. Debbie was recently honored by being named a 2013 Super Lawyer in Employment and Labor and one of the Top Women Lawyers in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine.

Raymond Hixson, Attorney(Hixson Nagatani LLP)
Mary Wang, Attorney(Hixson Nagatani LLP)

Employers must terminate employees from time to time in order to run their businesses effectively, but no other type of personnel transaction presents a higher degree of legal risk. The saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies with particular force when it comes to terminating employees. Even subtle differences in preparing for and conducting terminations can impact greatly the level of legal risk, and whether an employer faces a claim that may cost six figure (or more) in potential liabilities and litigation costs.

In this webcast, attorneys Ray Hixson and Mary Wang will review the essential legal do's and don’ts for employers when terminating employees. They will address topics including:

•       Assessing Legal Risks of a Termination
•       Essential Steps for Performance Terminations & Layoffs
•       How to Conduct the Termination Meeting
•       Essential Documentation for Terminations
•       When to Offer Severance
•       Separation & Release Agreements
•       Recent Legal Developments Regarding Terminations, including:
- a court ruling that an employer was not permitted to terminate an employee merely based upon an honest belief of leave fraud;
- a court ruling that an employer may terminate an employee based upon an honest belief that the employee lied when making a harassment complaint.

--------------- ------------ -------------- ----------- -----------

Ray Hixson and Mary Wang are partners of the law firm Hixson Nagatani LLP, based in Santa Clara, California. Hixson Nagatani LLP represents businesses in a wide range of employment law matters, including advice on conducting employment terminations, and also defending employers against wrongful termination claims brought by former employees.

Sponsors for this event:

IHR Certifications
Are you becoming an industry expert?    Each One Hour Webcast on is reviewed and can qualify for an Institute for Human Resources credit.    The Institute for Human Resources Certification Program provides HR Professionals with an opportunity to specialize in one vertical or domain, making them an Industry Expert.   Each of’s webcasts are reviewed and evaluated against the verticals/domains criteria, and one credit hour can be applied to the appropriate vertical or domain.   For more information regarding the IHR Certification Program, please click here or visit:
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