8:40 - 8:50 am

Registration & virtual orientation

8:50 - 8:55 am

Opening remarks

John Corrigan

Senior Journalist, HRD Magazine

9:00 - 9:30 am

New developments from the courts and updates on California employment standards

New case law developments impacting employer obligations and changes to Employment Standards have meant that organizations need to continually monitor their employment law files to ensure they stay updated on the latest legal developments. This session will provide an overview of recent decisions from the courts, new and updated employment legislation, as well as a preview of trends emerging in 2022.

  • New measures and updates to the Employment Standards Act and related legislation
  • Updates on recent case law decisions and tribunal ruling
  • COVID-19-related amendments impacting working conditions, investigations, and leave

Ryan McCoy

Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

9:35 - 10:15 am

Workplace vaccinations: Guidance for compliance, exemptions, and vaccine policy

With many employees now fully vaccinated, employers will need to assess how progress in this area will impact their workplace environment and how to deal with employees who remain unvaccinated. How have recent case law decisions and changes to employment standards impacted an employer’s ability to mandate vaccines? What factors determine how employers should respond if employees refuse vaccines? How should employers assess exemption requests based on religious or medical reasons?

  • Recent case decisions on workplace vaccines and new legislative developments
  • Employer options with respect to those who do not qualify for exemptions and are in violation of the organization’s vaccine policy: penalties and terminations
  • The importance of having a vaccine policy in place and how to communicate this
  • Vaccine policy and the impact on work-from-home employees and those on leave of absence
  • How might third-dose requirements and new variants impact mandates?

Carly O. Machasic

Partner, Clark Hill PLC

10:15 - 10:30 am

Networking and coffee break

10:30 - 11:10 am

Accommodation in the workplace: Changing employer obligations for the new landscape

The forever changes in our workplaces have introduced more complex accommodation challenges and related issues for organizations. When it comes to employees with chronic health disabilities or family obligations, employers need to be mindful of their duty to accommodate. What types of new accommodation challenges are employers facing, and how should they best respond? What proactive steps do employers need to take to ensure they are properly accommodating employees’ needs to avoid future litigation, while ensuring they are protecting their organizations’ interests?

  • Understanding an employer’s duty to accommodate – physical, mental or neural disabilities; childcare and family obligations; identity; addictions.
  • Accommodating employees on return from extended leaves of absence
  • Validating medical notes and requiring third-party assessments
  • Employee anxieties – when do you need to accommodate?
  • Best practices and practical tips

Navid Kanani

Trial Lawyer, Employment Law Advocate, JS Abrams Law, PC

11:15 - 11:55 am

How the PAGA ruling and proposed reform will impact your organization

PAGA litigation costs California employers millions of dollars each year. The Supreme Courts ruling of Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Angie Moriana could dramatically shift the litigation landscape, enabling employers to use arbitration agreements to ensure employees only bring their claims on an individual basis. What’s more, the initiative to replace PAGA with the California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act is gathering momentum and with a potential ballot in November, employers must understand the resulting consequences and prepare their organizations.

  • What impact could the Supreme Court case ruling have on your organization?
  • Analyzing the pros and cons of arbitration agreements
  • What actions should employers take pending the Supreme Court decision?
  • PAGA versus the California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act: Understanding the impact of this potential reform

Anthony J. Zaller

Partner, Zaller Law Group, PC

11:55 - 12:25 pm

Lunch break

12:25 - 1:05 pm

Workplace health and safety update: Navigating the complex new reality

As the constant workplace shifts continues to impact organizations, and employees return to the office or adapt to a hybrid work schedule, employers are confronted with various practical challenges in maintaining and ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. What are some best practices that have proven effective to date in providing a safe workspace? How are organizations responding to the increased complexity of health and safety regulations?

  • Understanding an employer’s duty to provide a safe work environment
  • Overview and update on current provincial and local health and safety guidelines
  • On-site health and safety policies and protocols: How to address violations
  • Dealing with workplace outbreaks; reporting requirements, privacy and employee testing
  • Practical issues when ensuring employee health and safety in a hybrid work setting

Chad A. Wissinger

Partner, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby

Julie Vanneman

Partner, Dentons Cohen & Grigsby

1:10 - 1:50 pm

Navigating terminations and wrongful dismissal claims

Terminations can be a lengthy and difficult process for many organizations and can carry the risk of wrongful termination claims if not handled properly. Further, recent court decisions may lead to an increased risk of wrongful termination claims for employers, which can result in higher severance payments and damages. What can employers do to better protect themselves throughout the termination process? How might changes to their contract drafting help mitigate future liabilities?

  • Understanding what constitutes wrongful dismissal in California – and how does COVID-19 impact this?
  • Managing the termination process – adequate notice, severance payments, and just cause
  • Overview of recent case law on wrongful dismissal claims
  • You have received a wrongful dismissal claim – now what?
  • Documenting performance evaluations, reviews, and disciplinary action: How does a hybrid workplace impact this?
  • Tips for drafting enforceable termination clauses to minimize liability

Guillermo M. Tello

Member, Clark Hill Law

1:55 - 2:35 pm

Silenced No More Act

At the beginning of 2022, the Silenced No More Act came into effect, preventing companies from enforcing any agreement that doesn’t allow employees to discuss their suffered workplace discrimination, harassment or abuse. SB 331 aims to empower survivors to speak out in order to hold perpetrators accountable and hopefully prevent abusers from continuing to torment and abuse other workers. What does this mean for employers?

  • Key considerations for employers impacted by this legislation
  • What to include and take out in employment agreements: arbitration, severance, NDAs, etc.
  • How this legislation relates to the #MeToo bill (soon to become law)

Sarah Sepasi

Managing Attorney, Sepasi Legal, P.C.

2:35 - 2:55 pm

Networking and coffee break: Q&A ‘Ask the Experts’ breakout

Have a question or comment for our panel of employment law experts? Join this short question and answer session to hear the answers to your most important HR and employment law queries

3:00 - 3:55 pm

Employment Law & Compliance – a practical guide for HR professionals

Navigating the wide range of California's complex laws can be challenging for employers, in this panel discussion we will lead a conversation on the rules, regulations and obligations employers need to mindful of and review the business case for compliance and human resource professionals' role in helping their organizations to do so.

  • Women on Boards Act: Key considerations for employers impacted by this legislation
  • Biden’s Immigration Agenda: H-1B and Other High-Skilled Workers
  • Complying with California Wage Payment and Hours of Work Laws
  • Right to Recall’ law for laid-off workers during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Common application mistakes with new retirement savings law

Sarah Sepasi

Managing Attorney, Sepasi Legal, P.C.

3:55 - 4:00 pm

Closing remarks

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