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Employment Law & Legislation

Protecting Your Business in 2017 & Beyond: Employee Benefits Compliance

Suzannah Gill & Carl Pilger, Esq., EPIC Employee Benefits

Applies to: Entry and Mid-Level HR Professionals

SHRM Competencies:

  • Business Acumen
  • Employment Law & Legislation
  • Critical Evaluation

Once upon a time, employer-provided health insurance was simple. But today's landscape is increasingly complex and resembles an alphabet soup: ERISA, HIPAA, PPACA, GINA, MHPAEA, FMLA, ADA, FLSA, IRS, HMS, HHS, DOL. And with the IRS and DOL increasing their enforcement efforts and raising penalties for non-compliance, it's more important than ever to review your benefits plans to ensure that you're meeting your obligations. In this presentation, we'll review key compliance regulations from the recent past reminders about your current obligations and a forecast of potential future legislation. We'll also share practical tips and best practices for effectively managing your benefits compliance obligations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Hear best practices for achieving and maintaining compliance for employee benefits plans
  • Learn about checklists to perform a self-audits
  • Get insights regarding upcoming benefits compliance obligations that employers should prepare for

Suzannah Gill: As a consultant in EPIC's Employee Benefits practice in Atlanta, Suzannah works with employers across a spectrum of sizes and industries. After she began her career as an ERISA attorney advising employers on compliance matters, she now helps her clients navigate through the complexities of employee benefits so they can focus on managing and growing their businesses. Her areas of expertise include: Strategic Design & Management of Employee Benefit Plans, Health Care Reform Strategy & Compliance, Benefits Compliance, Consumer Driven Health Plans, Wellness & Total Health Management, Employee Communication & Engagement Strategies, and Benefits Cost Management. She is a regular contributor to industry publications and conferences, including the International Symposium of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists, Institute for Healthcare Consumerism, BenefitsPro Magazine and Employee Benefits News. Suzannah is a proud graduate of Georgia Tech and UGA law school.

Carl Pilger, J.D.: Carl is the Director of Employee Benefits Compliance at EPIC Brokers and Consultants. Carl is an ERISA attorney and has advised and represented businesses for more than 20 years. Carl has practiced at 3 prominent law firms focusing exclusively on ERISA compliance including representing his clients in DOL and IRS audits. He is a subject matter expert on the Affordable Care Act and has traveled the country speaking to numerous groups regarding the law’s complexities.

Legal Implications regarding Sexual Harassment Suits

Greg Hare

Applies to: Senior Level HR Professionals

SHRM Competencies:

  • Business Acumen
  • Employment Law & Legislation
  • Critical Evaluation

More information will be available soon.

C’Mon Man!

Marty Martenson, Managing Partner, Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon LLP

Applies to: All levels of HR Professional

SHRM Competencies:

  • Business Acumen
  • Employment Law & Legislation
  • Leadership & Navigation
  • Relationship Management
  • Communication

This entertaining presentation centers around the unbelievable, yet true, requests and demands that employees make of their employers.We will explore things such as leave demands, data removal, work from home requests, non-disability related accommodation needs, and general employee "wants." The presentation will evaluate the impact of certain requests and the possible precedent established in saying "yes." Likewise, attendees will gain an appreciation as to why certain non-mandatory requests should be granted. Employee morale and employee relations can be profoundly impacted by such decisions. The risk/benefit analysis will also be put to the test. Finally, we will explain reasonable and rational employer responses and how the communication of a decision can mean the difference between success and failure.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explore employee requests that are legally required
  • Learn about employee requests that are simply "wants"
  • Get helpful employer responses to various types of employee requests

Marty N. Martenson: Mr. Martenson is currently the managing partner of Martenson, Hasbrouck & Simon LLP and is involved in representing management in all areas of labor and employment law. In his practice, Mr. Martenson focuses on employment discrimination, labor law, collective bargaining and union contracts, wage and hour law, affirmative action, policy drafting and counseling and preventive maintenance. Mr. Martenson also presents and participates in numerous seminars throughout the country for many of the firm's clients, as well as groups such as the State Departments of Labor, local Chambers of Commerce and numerous other industry associations. He is aa native of Tacoma, Washington. He attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating in 1986 with B.A. degrees in both Business Management and Economics. Mr. Martenson attended Mercer Law School, graduating cum laude in 1989.

Immigration Compliance Under A New Administration: Resolving Talent Shortages Using Work Visas, Handling and Avoiding Government Audits and Investigations, and I-9 Compliance

Shanon Stevenson, Partner, Fisher & Phillips

Applies to: Senior Level HR Professional

SHRM-Competencies:

  • Leadership & Navigation
  • Business Acumen
  • Ethical Practice
  • Relationship Management
  • Critical Evaluation
  • Global & Cultural Effectiveness
  • Communication

Changing the immigration laws is clearly a priority of the new Administration. This session will help Human Resources professionals to understand how to comply with changing immigration laws, including how to use work visas to resolve labor shortages. In addition, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services released a new Form I-9 to take effect on January 21, 2017. Failure of an employer to ensure proper completion and retention of Form I-9 for applicable personnel may subject the employer to new higher civil money penalties of up to $2,156 per I-9, and, in some cases, criminal penalties. The new Form I-9 increases the administrative burden on employers, which can result in even more mistakes. 2017 is expected to be another record-breaking year in immigration enforcement and the various government agencies are getting better at sharing information to target employers for criminal penalties. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to issue Form I-9 Notices of Inspection to businesses across the nation. This session will provide guidelines on how to conduct an I-9 self-audit, how to handle an I-9 Notice of Inspection and how to avoid a Department of Justice immigration discrimination investigation.

Learning Objectives

  • Understanding immigration compliance challenges under a Trump Administration, including obtaining work visas for positions with labor shortages
  • The requirements of the new Form I-9, including the higher penalties that are now in effect, steps to conducting an I-9 self-audit, and how to handle an I-9 Notice of Inspection and Immigration Enforcement Subpoena from Immigration & Customs Enforcement
  • Tips to avoid a Department of Justice immigration discrimination investigation

Shanon Stevenson is a partner in the Atlanta office and a member of the firm's Global Immigration Practice Group. Shanon's practice focuses on corporate immigration law. She began practicing in this area in 1998. She has comprehensive knowledge and extensive experience in a broad range of immigration areas, including advising clients on current immigration legislation, handling nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications, outbound visas and advising employers on I-9 compliance. Shanon is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She has been repeatedly recognized for her immigration practice in Georgia Super Lawyers - Rising Stars. Shanon is "AV" peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Avoiding Risk While Using Advanced Selection Techniques: The Challenging World of Pre-employment Testing and Big Data Analytics Used as Selection Tools

Gavin Appleby & Dionysia Johnson Massie, Littler Mendelson, PC

Applies to: Mid to Senior Level HR Professionals

SHRM Competencies:

  • Business Acumen
  • Ethical Practice
  • Critical Evaluation

The EEOC and the OFCCP have become extremely focused on employers’ hiring processes. In particular, the EEOC and the OFCCP have evaluated pre-employment testing more carefully. A majority of employers now use pre-employment tests, and an increasing number are considering the use of analytics based on big data as an additional means of evaluating candidates. Pre-employment tests range from personality assessments to cognitive testing and physical capacity exams. Some of these tests are homegrown, but most are purchased. Some are purchased from quality testing vendors but many are not. Further, most of the employers who use tests have limited awareness of the applicability of law to those tests, not to mention a complete lack of uncertainty as to how big data analytics will fit under the law (including the EEOC’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures) when used as a selection device.

In the last couple of years, there have been multi-million dollar settlements regarding testing claims and OFCCP audits. These settlements usually are caused by adverse impact problems under Title VII or medical issues under the ADA. Most often, settlements have resulted in situations where a test has not been validated or the validation has not been properly done or does not show sufficient predictiveness. So far, there are few claims involving analytics as a selection tool, but the EEOC already has warned employers about potential concerns related to those matters.

Employers need to understand how important these issues are and what they can do to avoid the ADA and discrimination problems that can arise from the use of tests and analytics as a selection device. They should also understand which types of tests and approaches are the riskiest and which are less worrisome. These are extremely complex topics due to the crossroads of candidate selection, validation, adverse impact and proper use of complex tools. Unfortunately, only a small number of employers have a meaningful understanding of such matters.

This program will include an analysis of the legal risk, provide education regarding how to evaluate and lessen that risk, and offer practical suggestions on how to select and use pre-employment tests and analytic-driven selection tools. We will address business strategy in connection with using and developing precautions related to pre-employment tests and analytics tools. The program also will focus on the potential return on investment through reduced turnover, better success with new hires, and the use of pre-employment tools in connection with cultural fit.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the risks and likely sources of non-compliance related to pre-employment tests and analytics tools
  • Evaluate how best to choose and use such tools to limit legal risk
  • Consider ways to improve the use of these tools without violating the law
  • Obtain specific information as to what the EEOC, OFCCP and courts expect of employers with regard to pre-employment testing, big data analytics as used in the hiring process and selection of candidates

Gavin S Appleby, JD: Gavin advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, from defending single-plaintiff and class action employment cases to offering advice on difficult employment issues and labor relations matters. He has significant knowledge of drug testing and sports anti-doping matters. He has tried cases in 20 different states and regularly appears before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Department of Labor as well as many state agencies. Gavin counsels clients in the U.S. on foreign ethics matters, codes of conduct and codes of social responsibility. Renowned as an exemplary employment law and diversity trainer, Gavin is a featured training expert in employment law at the Institute for Applied Management and Law. He has developed legally-defensible diversity programs, created numerous interactive training programs and trained thousands of human resources professionals and operations managers across the country.

Dionysia Johnson-Massie, JD: Dionysia is a litigator who focuses her practice on federal employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wage-hour litigation and strategic compliance issues. She also has defended clients against state law defamation, intentional interference with business relationships, assault and battery, and false imprisonment claims. She also has unique expertise handling religious accommodation matters for employers in a variety of industries and promotion and tenure issues for educational institutions. In addition, Dionysia services Littler’s Board of Directors and is co-chairperson of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and of the Women's Leadership Team.