The content-rich sessions offered at the SHRM California Employment Law Conference cover an extensive and inclusive range of topics. Sessions are summarized in the succeeding pages and are organized by timeframe.   

Sunday, April 10

The Washington Outlook: A Federal Public Policy Update

Workplace Application: This session will give you the timeliest information on both pending and anticipated legislative, regulatory and judicial activity that may affect your daily business.

The 112th Congress and the Obama administration are off to a fast start this year with many key issues of interest to HR at the forefront for consideration. Key issues of focus include proposals to reform the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, proposals to change the federal immigration laws for employment verifi cation purposes as well as initiatives to restrict the use of credit reports in the hiring process and to provide new civil rights protections in pay discrimination claims. This session will also discuss pending regulations before the federal agencies. Staying up-to-date on pending and anticipated legislative, regulatory and judicial activity is vital to your career and your organization. Michael P. Aitken, director of Government Affairs for SHRM, will discuss the outlook of congressional initiatives and recently released or pending federal regulations on employment-related issues of interest to you.

Presenter: Michael P. Aitken, Director, Government Affairs, SHRM, Alexandria, Va.


2011 California Employer Law Update - New Directions in the Law and the Effect on HR Policies and Procedures

Workplace Application: This session will help you learn about the latest developments, how they compare with existing “common practices” and what California employers need to do to best comply with the law.

Changes in Federal and State laws and regulations as well as significant state decisions such as City of Ontario v. Quon (U.S. Supreme Court), Reid v. Google (California Supreme Court), and the long-awaited Brinker decision present a changing landscape for HR professionals in 2011. A broad overview of recent developments in federal and state case law and legislation affecting employers in the State of California will be provided, and how these legal changes affect HR practices in connection with electronic communications in the workplace, employee privacy expectations, leaves of absence, meal and rest breaks, payments to tipped employees, and discrimination and harassment. More than just a legal summary, this session focuses on how recent legal developments may require changes in the policies and practices in the workplace.

Presenters: Roberta S. Hayashi, partner; and Kate Wilson, associate, Berliner Cohen, San Jose. Calif.


Beyond Discrimination Claims: What Else Can You Be Sued for in California?

Workplace Application: This session will help you understand some of the risky areas of California employment law and gain proactive tools to avoid liability.

Keeping up with employment law in California, is well, a challenge. While you know about harassment, discrimination and retaliation, what about the other risky state law claims such as defamation, fraud/misrepresentation, negligent hiring and privacy? Add to that list dress codes, domestic partnerships, meal breaks, various leave laws, English-only rules and training requirements. This information packed session will teach you what you need to know and provide prevention tips into these and other risky areas of California law.

Presenter:  Allison West, Esq., SPHR, principal, Employment Practices Specialists, Pacifica, Calif.


Creating a Culture of Recognition

Workplace Application: This session will show you how to use the core elements found in strong cultures of recognition to inspire employees to new levels of performance and competitive advantage for your organization.

Most employees today feel overworked and underappreciated. As we expect them to do more with less, they report feeling less valued and more stressed than ever. Bob Nelson, Ph.D., will share how you can better and more frequently recognize others at work—even with little time, resources, or budget. You will learn specific techniques that can be immediately applied back on the job within a larger, systematic framework for improvement over time. 

Presenter: Bob Nelson, Ph.D., president, Nelson Motivation, Inc., San Diego, Calif.




 Monday, April 11

SHRM Advocacy Team: Shaping HR Public Policy

As an HR professional, you are uniquely positioned to provide insight into and shape the development of federal and state workplace laws and regulations. SHRM is launching an initiative to create a nationwide member advocacy network of HR Advocates collectively known as the Advocacy Team, or A-Team, to fully engage our members in the public policy process. 

To develop the A-Team, the SHRM Government Affairs Team has created a strategic curriculum designed to inform and train SHRM’s key contacts, known as Advocacy Captains, and HR Advocates on the program. This presentation takes you through the basic steps of becoming involved in the public policy process; best practices for contacting, meeting with and building lasting relationships with elected officials and their staffs outside of Washington, D.C., in their home districts; and, effective ways of communicating the HR professional’s perspective on key workplace issues.

Presenters: Michael P. Aitken, director of Government Affairs, SHRM, Alexandria, Va.