Auburn seminar to focus on Human Resources issues

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Local businesses can get up-to-date on the latest legislation, policy and trends in human resources at the Foothill and South Placer Employer Advisory Councils’ 22nd annual Employer Seminar. The focus for this year’s day-long Oct. 4. session, which is also coordinated with the state'e Employment Development Department, is “The Truth within the Confusion.” “We work with small businesses and HR labor law attorneys and consultants who are subject matter experts,” said Rose Kuntz, a member of the council’s planning board for the event. ”We try to pick things that are relevant to today. That way we hope to have better attendance and get good information out there.” This year’s topics include New Developments and Court Decisions You Can’t Afford to Miss, by David Tyra, an employment and labor law attorney. ESM Solutions representatives Anthony J. Poston and Don Freeman will discuss Workers Compensation — The Good, Bad and Opportunistic. Kim Silvers, president of Silvers HR, will cover Ethical Challenges that Mold Human Resources Leaders — Is it Getting Hot in Here? Final speaker of the day will be Michael C. Saqui with Saqui Law Group who will cover Human Resources — Do you Dare Cut Corners? Each segment lasts an hour and a half, so there’s ample time to cover the topic and have a question-and-answer session. Over the years, many of the topics arise from interaction with businesses at the Employer Advisory Council’s monthly luncheon meetings. “In the past — we’re not doing it this year — we typically start with new legislation,” Kuntz said. “We didn’t do that this year because there are not a lot of new laws the books. But there have been a lot of changes in workers’ compensation, so that’s one of our focuses.” The meeting brings together as many as 150 attendees representing a mix of advisory council members and non-members. “It’s geared toward business owners, human resources (specialists), managers and supervisors,” said Kuntz, who is an HR specialist with Borges Architectural group in Roseville. “If you are a small business owner, you may want to attend yourself or send an office manager.” For the opening presentation at the seminar, Tyra plans to cover the big highlights in HR this year. “A very significant development at the beginning of the year was the issuance of new regulations by the Department of Labor regarding the federal law known as GINA – Genetic Information and Discrimination Act,” he said. “(It is) the prohibition of use of genetic information in employment decisions — hiring, promotions, terminations — every facet of employer-employee relations.” That legislation affects employers with 20 or more employees. He’ll also provide the latest tweaks to the Americans with Disabilities Act. “In 2008, Congress passed the ADAAA — it’s the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act,” Tyra explained. “It amends the ADA and makes a number of significant changes in it. And then the Department of Labor at the beginning of the year issued new regulations regarding (the ADAAA) with respect to the obligations of employers to accommodate disabled employees. It provides broader protections for disabled employees and puts greater obligations on employers in areas of accommodating disabled employees.” Updates on new requirements for I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification, which deals with residency and resident alien status, will also be part of the talk. “One other thing,” Tyra said. “Just today, the legislative sessions closed at the state Capitol. The governor has until Oct. 9 to sign or veto the bills that have been presented. We anticipate the governor will be signing a number of bills over the next month that will affect employers. A number of bills passed the legislature that affect employer-employee relations. To the extent those bills have been signed, I’ll be talking about those as well.” In Auburn Sandy Sindt, office operations manager for the Sierra Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Foothill Employer Advisory Council board, gives the event a high recommendation. “I have gone to the seminar for more than 10 years and each year the speakers provide so much information that I am grateful for the binder that is provided with the presentations and speaker contact information,” she said in an e-mail. Reach Gloria Young at