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Annual Pacific Northwest Employer Legal Update

Past Details

September 30, 2015
9:00 AM - 3:45 PM PST
Grand Hyatt Seattle
721 Pine Street
Eliza Anderson Amphitheater
Seattle, WA 98101
Registration Fee: $75.00

Best Strategies to Manage the Modern Employee Life Cycle

Employers in the Pacific Northwest face unique challenges throughout an employee’s life cycle. Please join us for an interactive and informative presentation as we break down the key areas of focus at each employment stage. We will address the latest national and local developments in workplace law to help attendees review and perfect their policies and practices, from recruitment and hiring through post-termination issues.



Welcome Remarks (Bryan O’Connor)

9:30-10:50 a.m. Great Beginnings: Hiring and Onboarding (Karen Kruse, Sieu Che and KoKo Huang)

Hiring well-qualified employees is critical to an organization’s long-term success. However, the hiring process includes pitfalls that can create employment law liabilities before employment even begins. We will cover a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that illustrates how religious accommodation issues may arise during the interview process – a ruling that is prompting employers to revisit what applicants should be told. We also will discuss:

  • Prohibited pre-employment inquiries, including the rise of “ban the box” legislation;
  • How systemic discrimination issues may arise in the hiring process;
  • Whether Washington’s recreational marijuana law affects pre-employment drug testing;
  • Whether or not your onboarding protocol measures up; and
  • Immigration 101: how to navigate hiring an applicant who may require immigration sponsorship and a refresher on I-9 compliance.

10:50-11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Midlife Issues: Paid Leaves + Telecommuting and Reassignment as Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees (Bryan O’Connor, Mike Griffin)

Effective February 1, 2016, the City of Tacoma's new paid leave law takes effect. This section will briefly address paid sick leave in both Seattle and Tacoma and highlight the proposed state-wide legislation. Among other compliance obligations covered, this segment will provide employers with necessary and practical information on what work is counted, who is entitled to earn and receive this new paid leave, how fast does such leave accrue, how much can be used, how much can be carried over, what can it be used for, how is this law enforced, what are the law's notice requirements, and how to lawfully combine these new leave requirements with existing leave policies. We will then address two recurring challenges employers face when a disabled employee requests a medical accommodation: telecommuting and reassignment to a vacant position (without having to compete for the position). Finally, we will examine when an employer’s accommodation duty extends beyond the employment relationship. 

12:15 p.m. Lunch is Served

12:30-1:30 p.m. Managing the Employee Life Cycle in the Digital Age (Moderator: Sarah Ryan)

Managing the employee lifecycle in a digital age can be a daunting task, with legal, ethical, privacy and free speech issues arising frequently in the workplace.  The panel will discuss the use of social media to research employees, how to deal with disparagement on social media, investigating employee misconduct in the electronic world and related privacy and confidentiality concerns. In addition to learning how to identify potential traps, this panel discussion will arm employers with real world tools and skills necessary to address the myriad of challenges faced by employers in an area dominated by electronic communication.   

1:30-2:00 p.m. Legal Updates (Barry Alan Johnsrud and Megan Carpenter)

The portion of the seminar focused on legislative and case law developments from 2015 and what you need to know in order to prepare for 2016.

2:00 p.m. Break

2:10-3:00 p.m. Midlife Issues Continued: The Gender Jigsaw (Karen Kruse and David Nenni)

There is an evolving legal puzzle for avoiding discrimination based on sex, gender identification and pregnancy. This presentation will examine recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings about gender equity and pregnancy accommodation, and how these impact Washington employers.  We also will discuss current best practices for managing workplace issues affecting LGBT employees. Finally, we will address employer compliance strategies that promote workplace respect and equity while minimizing risk of legal exposure. 

3:00-3:45 p.m. End of the Line: Losing an Employee Without Losing Your Business (Pete Nohle and Mia Tucker)

A "how to" on preventing a departing employee from walking out the door with company clients, technology, and confidential information. This portion of the seminar will address how employers can use non-compete and confidentiality agreements to promote stability in the workforce and protect company goodwill, client and prospect base, intellectual property and proprietary information.  We will discuss best practices for drafting and implementing enforceable non-compete and confidentiality agreements for management, sales and technical employees and how to deal with key employees when their employment relationship ends.

Closing Remarks (Bryan O’Connor)

3:45 p.m. Cocktails and Coffee

Contact Us for More Information

Please contact Seattle Events Team at or 415-796-5466.