7:30 to 8:20     Registration

8:20 to 8:30     Opening Remarks

8:30 to 9:30     “Understanding the Numerous, and Often Overlapping, California Leave Laws”

by Bernadette M. O’Brien, Esq., SPHR and Dona Lee Skeren, Esq.

California has numerous statutes related to employee leaves of absences. Managing these leaves of absence can be confusing; particularly since leave laws often impose overlapping employer obligations. This presentation will identify these leave laws, focusing in on 5 key leaves: work injury related leave; pregnancy leave; family and medical leave; accommodation leave, and, military leave, while providing helpful information on the remaining, and less understood, leave laws.

9:30 to 10:45     “An Overview of Proposed Changes to the California Family Rights Act”

by Dale Brodsky, Esq., Councilmember of the California Fair Employment and Housing Council.

Significant changes have been proposed to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which is the California statute that covers family and medical leave. This presentation will review key sections of the proposed regulations including clarification of who is an “adult dependent child”, which employers are covered by CFRA, whether or not employees who are on paid or unpaid leave are counted for determining the aggregate number of employees required to reach 50, the significance of employment periods prior to a break in service of seven years or more, what constitutes a “worksite” for purposes of determining employee eligibility for CFRA, specific notice obligations to “key” employees, and details on an employer’s “reinstatement” obligations. The presentation will also review the proposed changes to the definition of a “serious health condition”, the employee’s right to reinstatement, new details on the employee’s rights upon return from CFRA leave, details on what happens if an employee fraudulently obtains CFRA leave, conditions for requiring a release to return-to-work after CFRA leave has expired, and new employer/employee notice requirements.

10:45 to 11:00     Break

11:00 to 12:00     “An Affordable Care Act Update for Employers: Preparing for 2015”

by Ed Fensholt, Esq., Sr. Vice President, Director, Compliance Services from The Lockton Companies

This presentation will provide essential information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a straightforward and easy to understand manner. Employers will learn about key provisions of the ACA, including information on essential health benefits, out-of-pocket maximums, HRAs and the latest news on the employer mandate which took effect on January 1, 2015. In anticipation of this deadline, some companies have already curtailed their payroll and hiring practices citing the costs the reform imposes. Other companies have reduced part-time workers’ hours to below the 30-hour mark ahead of 2015. This presentation will also review the possible implications of such strategies and offer suggestions on preparing for 2015.

12:00 to 1:00     Lunch

1:00 to 2:00 “Overview of New California Employment Laws in Effect as of January 2015”

by Bernadette M. O’Brien, Esq., SPHR and Dona Lee Skeren, Esq.

As of January 2015, many new laws are in effect that will impact the workplace. This presentation will review these new laws and key 2014 cases including: mandatory paid sick leave; employer contractor liability; new law on AB 1825 harassment training and “abusive conduct”; new EEOC guidelines on pregnancy discrimination; new law related to FEHA protection for unpaid interns; new law related to undocumented workers and driver’s licenses; new law related to employer liability for contract laborers; new law on confidentiality of arbitration proceedings; information on minimum wage increases; and, information on San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance.

2:00 to 3:00     “Guidance on Preventing a Simple Work Comp Case from Becoming a Complex FEHA Nightmare”

by  Dona Lee Skeren, Esq., Eric E. Ostling, Esq., Lindsay A. Wagenman, Esq.

When an employee is injured, all California employers must comply with workers’ compensation laws and all employers with five or more employees must comply with the overlapping disability discrimination laws under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which are likely triggered when an employee sustains a work related injury. Failure to understand the employer’s obligations under both sets of laws can turn a straightforward workers’ compensation case into a FEHA nightmare. And, the number of disability discrimination lawsuits filed in California continues to skyrocket. With the passage of the new California disability regulations in 2013, California employers have broadened responsibilities under FEHA, including an obligation to engage in the Interactive Process in workers’ compensation cases. This presentation will focus on: (1) how a straightforward workers’ compensation case can easily become a FEHA matter; (2) best practices for complying with FEHA in workers’ compensation cases; (3) what to expect (and do) if a workers’ compensation case becomes a FEHA disability discrimination lawsuit.

3:00 to 3:15     Break

3:15 to 4:15     “Reduce Work Comp Costs: Avoid These Seven Common Mistakes”

by David Jimenez, Esq., Timothy Morgan, Esq., and Lindsay A. Wagenman, Esq.

For California employers, workers’ compensation costs continue to skyrocket. This presentation will focus on seven common mistakes employers make that contribute to increased costs for workplace injuries including failing to understand overlapping laws, failing to send the employee to a medical clinic after an injury, and failing to immediately and properly investigate a workplace injury claim.

4:15 to 5:00     “Mastering the Complexities of Pregnancy Leave: How Much Time is Required by Law and Why it Could be More Than 7 Months”

by Dona Lee Skeren, Esq.

Employers are often surprised to learn that due to overlapping statutes, eligible pregnant employees may be entitled to more than 7 months of pregnancy leave. Although that may seem like a substantial amount of leave, an employer’s failure to provide the appropriate amount of pregnancy leave can result in a costly claim for pregnancy discrimination. The focus of this discussion will be on how much pregnancy leave a California employee is entitled to receive, including an overview of the relevant provisions of the federal and state laws.

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