California Legal & Legislative Conference
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California Legal & Legislative Conference

When: Thursday, November 17, 2016
From 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM
Where: Hyatt Regency San Francisco
Five Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, California  94111
United States
Contact: 415-291-1992

Online registration is closed.
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Conference Details

Registration: NCHRA Members $250 / General $328     Bring a colleague for 50% Off!

Qualifies for 6 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs) / HRCI Recertification Credits of which 4.75 qualify for California recertification credits


Head into 2017 fully apprised of employment law trends and tricky laws. Why wait? Get prepared now and start the year off right!


     Title Sponsor


            Soothing Dental






8:00 – 8:30am: Registration & Opening Remarks

8:30 – 9:30am:
The 2017 Legal Landscape: Get Ready, Set, Go!  
Tracey Merwise, Shareholder, Jackson Lewis P.C.
The New Year will bring a number of changes to California and federal employment law. Get ready - make sure you understand what’s coming. Get set – examine how these changes will impact your organization. Go -  ensure your organization is compliant by implementing effective policies and procedures.

9:30 – 9:45am: Break

9:45 – 11:00am:
Wage & Hour Developments for 2017
Douglas Farmer, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. 
In this fast paced review of California wage and hour developments, one of California’s most experienced class action litigators explains the latest in this rapidly changing area of the law. You’ll cover new legislative and court developments for 2017, as well as the most common mistakes driving California class action litigation. Learn how to minimize risk in critical areas such as equal pay, “off-the-clock” work, wage statement content, meal and rest break compliance, regular rate issues, timekeeping and record retention, expense reimbursement, paycheck formatting, and more.

11:00 – 11:15am: Break

11:15am – 12:30pm:  
Demystifying the Employment Attorney: A Behind the Scenes Look 
Krista Mitzel, Labor & Employment Attorney, The Mitzel Group, LLP, and Aaron Minnis, Attorney, Minnis and Smallet’s LLP -
Preventative strategies and updated policies are the best defense from exposure to liability and lawsuits. In this uniquely formatted session, you’ll learn how attorneys with opposing views consider the issues surrounding labor and employment laws. From this perspective, you’ll discover best practices for complying with the latest laws, and find out how to protect your business from getting sued or audited.

12:30 – 1:30pm: Networking Lunch

1:30 – 2:45pm:
Political Correctness at Work: Where to Draw the Line 
James J. McDonald, Jr., Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP
With a growing focus in universities and the media on unconscious bias, micro-aggression and bullying; and employees who are increasingly sensitive to the slightest provocation, many employers are uncertain about how far they must go to police the words and actions of employees at work.  Should you broaden your policy against harassment to encompass statements and conduct that are not prohibited by current law?  Do you need a policy against bullying?  How should you reconcile employees’ competing sensitivities regarding politics and religion?  How do you handle transgender employees and which restroom should they use?  Can you still require employees to follow a dress code? Get answers to these important (and potentially risky) questions, and learn where to draw the line on political correctness in the workplace.

2:45 – 3:00pm: Break

3:00 – 4:15pm:
FEHA, ADA, CFRA, FMLA and Worker’s Compensation: Addressing Complex Interactions
Sharon Rossi, Shareholder, Rogers Joseph O’Donnell and Virginia Young, Senior Counsel, Rogers Joseph O’Donnell
When employees request leave for family and medical reasons or disability, or need time off due to on the job injuries or illnesses, California employers face competing - and evolving - obligations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA); the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and, in some cases, workers’ compensation laws. Get practical solutions for handling the intersection of these laws, including: maintaining compliant leave of absence policies and practices, determining whether the workers’ comp injury constitutes a “disability” and/or a “serious health condition”, guarding against costly FEHA/ADA liability. 



Douglas Farmer of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. is a shareholder in the firm’s San Francisco office. He has served as lead defense counsel to Fortune 500 companies in more than 50 wage and hour class actions over the past decade. In 2014, Mr. Farmer was one of eight California lawyers elected by his peers as a Fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers based on his career accomplishments. His book, California Employment Law (, has been recognized as a major contribution to the field of California employment law, and is widely used by in-house counsel, human resources executives, and business owners throughout the United States. 

James J. McDonald, Jr
., J.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is managing partner of the Irvine office of the labor and employment firm Fisher &Phillips LLP.  He has defended and advised California employers for more than 25 years.  He is author of the book, California Employment Law: An Employer’s Guide, published this year by SHRM.  He also teaches labor and employment law in the Human Resources Management Program at the University of California, Irvine.

Tracey K. Merwise
is a Partner in the national employment law firm of Jackson Lewis PC. Since 1995, Ms. Merwise has focused exclusively on employment advice and counsel, training, compliance and litigation, helping employers de-escalate difficult employment situations and proactively manage employment issues. Ms. Merwise is certified as a third-party Mediator to mediate litigated and pre-litigation disputes, and as a Workplace Conflict Mediator. She also conducts independent workplace investigations. Ms. Merwise is a member of the EEOC’s Pro Bono Mediation Panel, the Association of Workplace Investigators, the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California, and Bay Area Women Neutrals. For more information, please see Ms. Merwise’s LinkedIn profile at:

Aaron Minnis
, a partner at Minnis & Smallets, has been practicing law in California since 1999. Aaron advises executives, professionals, attorneys, and employees through complex and sensitive work issues. He has litigated numerous employment cases, and resolved cases at mediation, trial, and after appeal. Aaron has tried numerous cases in various practice areas including employment, business, probate, and landlord-tenant. Aaron volunteers as a Supervising Attorney with the Worker’s Rights Clinic at the Employment Law Center. He is an Arbitrator for the attorney/client fee dispute program of the Bar Association of San Francisco. He serves on the Executive Committee for the Solo and Small firm section of the San Francisco Bar Association.

Krista L. Mitzel
is a seasoned employment attorney and human resources consultant who has worked with a variety of clients from diverse industries. Ms. Mitzel has extensive experience advising, counseling and supporting executives and human resource professionals create preventative strategies in all areas of employment including employee relations, implementing new policies, trade secret protection, training and development, performance management, employee retention, complying with local, state and federal laws and regulations, and hiring policies, disciplinary actions and terminations.    Ms. Mitzel provides clients with professional and individualized service, partners with companies to create comprehensive strategies on all employment, human resources, and risk management issues, and directs and manages all litigation matters to successful resolution.  

Sharon Rossi
is a Shareholder at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell.  Ms. Rossi has extensive experience defending employers in state and federal courts and before various administrative agencies.  In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Rossi counsels employers (both large and small) on a wide array of workplace issues, such as leaves of absence, disability accommodations, employee complaints, terminations, contingent workforce arrangements and workplace violence threats.

Virginia Young
is Senior Counsel at Rogers Joseph O’Donnell. She has broad experience representing small and large employers in state and federal courts and before a variety of governmental agencies. Her practice covers a wide spectrum of state, federal and local employment issues including wage and hour, government contractor affirmative action, family and medical leaves of absence, discrimination, harassment and reasonable accommodation, and misappropriation of trade secrets.





Cancellations received less than seven calendar days from the program date are not refundable. If cancellation within seven days of the program is unavoidable, a credit for a future event will be granted, minus a $75 administration fee ($15 for regional meetings and Webinars). Credits must be used within one year of issue. A substitute attendee is allowed at the applicable NCHRA member/non-member rate in lieu of credit. Separate cancellation policies apply for the HR West Conference and Certification Preparation Courses.