A Year of Learning: Recap of hr|simple’s 2023 Webinar Series
As the year draws to a close, we take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the highlights of our 2023 HR webinar series. Your enthusiasm and engagement have made each event a success, and we couldn't be prouder of the vibrant community we've built. So, let's raise a virtual toast to the 17 insightful webinars that made this year memorable. And if you missed any of the presentations, feel free to click the links provided below to watch the full webinar recording.
The year kicked off with an exploration of employee handbook policy updates for 2023 with Fisher Phillips attorney Mimi Nguyen. We covered crucial topics and updates in employment law, including timekeeping, payroll practices, benefits, leaves of absence, and arbitration agreements. This session set the stage for a year of legal compliance, positive workplace culture, employee engagement, clear communication and overall organizational success.
In late January, Peter Gillespie and Katherine Stryker of Laner Muchin took center stage, addressing employment law questions from the HR professionals in the audience. We covered lawful termination of an employee in a protected class, understanding the nuances of marijuana use in the workplace, what to do when a salaried employee runs out of PTO, what to do when employees are coming to work knowingly sick, what determines if an employee is full-time vs part-time and much more. This interactive session was a crowd favorite!
In February, we welcomed the insightful duo, Shawe Rosenthal attorneys Veronica Yu Welsh and Lindsey White to unpack the complexities of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s administrative process. Attendees were treated to a deep dive into charge filing trends, investigations, litigation priorities, and best practices for defending charges of discrimination. Lindsey’s experience as a former senior trial attorney for the EEOC brought an extra layer of expertise and invaluable perspective to the table.
Calling all employers offering retirement plans! Our gang of Cozen O’Connor attorneys Jay Dorsch, Lynn Brehm, Rob Kaplin, Matthew Clyde, and Jenna Schaffer simplified the SECURE 2.0 Act for attendees and focused on the most significant changes that took immediate effect in early 2023. This session introduced the bill and provided an in-depth discussion on hardship withdrawals, disaster relief, and Emergency Savings Accounts. We concluded with a timeline of these plan amendments. Who says retirement plans can’t be fun?!
In early March, Fisher Phillips attorney Sheila Willis guided us through the impact of gender expressions in the workplace. This session underscored the importance of using correct pronouns – from how bathrooms are labeled to how you introduce a colleague in a meeting.
We discussed reasons employers should care what pronouns are used in the workplace and where they are used, as well as provided a high level set of LGBTQ+ terminology you should be familiar with.
As March progressed, Phillip Bauknight, Partner at Fisher Phillips addressed OSHA’s new aggressive plan, effective March 27, 2023. OSHA is issuing more subpoenas for documents and testimony and making more criminal referrals now than in recent memory. This session discusses the key points of this new guidance and gives employers helpful tips for maintaining good workplace safety practices as OSHA turns up the heat on inspections and citations.
Partnering with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce in mid-April, we explored an employer's guide to affordable health insurance. Our goal for attendees was to better understand the key concepts of group medical insurance, how different plans are designed and what options best suit their individual company’s needs. We dug deep into different plan types, self-funded vs level-funded plans, types of deductible and out-of-pocket max designs, and minimum essential coverage and minimum value plans.
In late April, Laner Muchin attorneys Peter Gillespie and Katherine Stryker helped us navigate the tricky world of marijuana in the workplace. We covered the most crucial topics such as state vs federal law and which one takes precedence, recommendations for addressing impairment concerns in states where recreational cannabis is legal, handbook requirements to address cannabis concerns – including multi-state policies and remote workers, drug testing requirements and limitations, and compliance with the ADA and disability laws. And as always, we wrapped by inviting the audience to submit their burning questions for our experts to extinguish.
In early May, Fredrikson attorneys Olivia Norwood and Devan Rittler-Patton gave us their POV as employment law attorneys. They shared the most frequently asked HR questions they get from employers and how they answer those questions when talking to a client. We tackle topics such as hiring, employment agreements, employee handbooks, leave and accommodations, discipline and termination, and most importantly how to avoid litigation.
The NE Chamber and Chuck Wilbrand of Knudsen Law assisted with the second installment of our 2023 AOAA series where we answered subscribers’ most complicated HR questions. Together we covered topics such as how to handle an employee with alcohol dependency, drug testing employees, how to manage remote workers, best practices for conducting credit checks on new employees vs existing employees, how to structure commissioned employees’ time off versus salaried employees, the differences between exempt and nonexempt employees, health insurance benefits and much more!
Retaliation remains the most common type of charge filed with the EEOC and are ordinarily the most expensive claims for employers. C.B. Burns of Kemp Smith Law provided guidance on effectively addressing and preventing retaliation claims. We tackled difficult topics such as defining retaliation, evidence required to prove a legal claim of retaliation, types of EEO activity that is protected from retaliation, how to establish effective reporting mechanisms, how to conduct thorough internal investigations and how to develop robust anti-retaliation policies and procedures. Attendees learned the importance of maintaining a fair and inclusive work environment and the proper steps to achieve just that!
As July rolled in, Dani Smid from BrownWinick took center stage to cover a range of hot topics within employment law. Part one of our two-part hot topics series addressed pressing issues like managing DEI, workplace violence prevention, LGBTQ Rights, non-compete agreements and the FTC, employee mental health, religious accommodations and more.
John MacDonald of Constangy put the finishing touches of our series a week later by taking a deep dive into a range of wage and hour hot topics that are most likely impacting your business. We covered everything from employees vs contractors, exempt vs non-exempt employees, overtime pay, on call time, PTO, FLSA exemptions and white collar exemptions. We rounded the presentation out with emerging legal trends every employer should watch out for.
The Department of Homeland Security shook the employment law world in late July by announcing new I-9 rules and revamped form I-9, which have the potential to impact ALL EMPLOYERS. In response, hr|simple called on employment verification experts Julie Pace and Heidi Nunn-Gilman of PSGM Law, who helped us unravel the complexities of these regulatory shifts. The agenda unfolded with a comprehensive overview of the DHS announcement, shedding light on the nuances of remote inspection, ensuring compliance with the new Form I-9, and offering invaluable best practices and tips for completing the updated form. The grand finale of the webinar featured an extensive hour-long Q&A session, addressing over 60 of the most pertinent questions from the audience.
This session not only served as an informative platform but also provided a forum for participants to gain practical guidance of implementing these changes within their own organizations.
We’ve all heard of ‘Quiet Quitting’ but during our second session in August, Shayda Le of Barran Liebman educated us on practical techniques to identify the signs and effective retention strategies any employer can implement. She then shed light on the advantages and pitfalls of remote work arrangements and flextime policies and the growing demand for pay transparency in the workplace and legal considerations associated with promoting openness around compensation. We wrapped up with a concise overview of key legislative changes and important compliance requirements so attendees could proactively adapt their employee handbooks accordingly.
Late summer saw more significant HR developments that affected ALL private sector employers, both union and non-union. Constangy Law’s Tim Davis signed on to help guide attendees through the NLRB's final rule – especially those with limited HR resources – and break down what all these significant changes in union organizing means and how employers should respond.
Closing the year in style, Katie Stukowski of Salary.com, in partnership with the NE Chamber of Commerce, presented a must-see webinar for HR professionals and employers. Participants gained insights into the compensation landscape for 2024, exploring industry trends and discovering innovative approaches to attract and retain top talent.