Friday, January 2, 2015

Two new employment laws in effect in California

With the new year brings new employment laws.  Recently I attended the Cook Brown LLP law firm's legislative update where they discussed two new updates effective in 2015.  Cook Brown LLP Partner Barbara Cotter gave me a quick summary of these below:

Governor Brown signed two pieces of legislation last year that will have a major impact on nearly all California employers.  One deals with the common use of temporary agency or staffing agency employees.  The other deals with paid sick leave.  The first law, now found at Labor Code Section 2810.3,  provides that an employer who obtains workers from a staffing or temporary agency will be held responsible for all wages and worker’s compensation coverage due those workers, even if they are formally hired, supervised and paid by the agency.   This dramatically changes the risk of hiring temporary workers.  Previously, an employer could only be held responsible for agency employees where the employer actually controlled the work performed by the employees and provided hands-on instruction on how the work was to be accomplished.  This new law totally supersedes those prior rules.  Now, an employer can be held strictly responsible even if the employer has never met the staffing agency employees, never dealt with them directly and does  not dictate how they perform the work.  Two key exceptions apply however:  In order to be subject to this law, the employer must have at least 25 workers (including those supplied by the agency); and must utilize more than five agency workers.  This law is effective January 1, 2015.

The second law, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” requires that on July 1, 2015, an employee who works for thirty or more days for an employer is entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every thirty hours worked.  An employee is entitled to use sick pay after on or after the ninetieth day of employment.  The sick pay can be capped at three days per year.  Limited exceptions apply to employees subject to collective bargaining agreements and in certain industries, such as in-home care.  The employer must provide a report on the sick pay accrued and used, along with the employee’s paystub.  Employers are required to post a notice of this new law.  The Department of Industrial Relations has published a sample notice on its website at

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Healthy Workplaces/Healthy Families Act of 2014: Paid Sick Leave

Last week I attended Cook Brown, LLP's employment law seminar about employment law changes coming up in 2015.  One big change for employers is the new law requiring paid sick leave for all employees.  To learn more about this legislature, and what it may mean to your business, visit the legal brief here.

Starting at the beginning of next year, make sure you have this poster displayed where employees can easily read it.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Enjoy Yourself Professionally at the Annual Office Party

It’s time for the annual office holiday party.  No matter how festive the occasion however, it’s important to remember that a holiday party is an extension of the work environment. While it’s okay to relax and have fun, a professional demeanor is still important because your behavior reflects on you as an employee or as a leader. 

Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author of Poised for Success: Mastering The Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, offers these 10 tips to avoid a night of barefaced blunders:

-          Don’t make a beeline for the food and drink. It's best to eat a little something before the event so you don't come to the party hungry. Scope out the crowd first and the goodies second.  Stay away from messy or difficult-to-eat foods (anything in a red sauce or on a bone) or large hors d'oeuvres that can't be eaten in one bite.

-          Hold your glass in your left hand. Always keep your right hand free for handshaking. No one likes to shake a cold, wet hand. Avoid juggling your food and drink and don't talk with your mouth full of food. Ladies, leave your large handbag at home. It only gets in the way. Carry a wristlet instead.

-          No swinging from the chandeliers.  An open bar isn’t an open invitation to drink yourself into oblivion.  Indulging in too much alcohol could have unfavorable repercussions if you’re not careful.  To maintain your professionalism, limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks.

-          Choose your guest carefully. The person you bring to the party can reflect either positively or negatively on you. Follow the dress code and make sure your date does too. This is not the time to wear your most revealing outfit or your favorite blue jeans and a t-shirt. Keep it festive, yet professional. 

-          Don't talk shop. Though work topics are bound to come up, this is not the time to plan your company's next advertising campaign, talk about the recent layoffs, or gossip about a co-worker's divorce. Keep the conversation light and positive. Be sure to include spouses, partners and guests in the conversation.

-          Be all there. A holiday party is a great time to get to know others on a personal level. Be engaged and don't spend a majority of the evening texting, talking on your cell phone, or posting photos on Facebook. Put people first and put your phone on silent.

-          Make an appearance.  When you make an effort to attend the office holiday party, even for just a half hour, you show interest in and support for your colleagues, organization and supervisor.  If you are unable to attend, let the host or someone in charge know that you have another obligation and will not be attending.  Simply not showing up shows a lack of respect.

-          Practice remembering names. The sweetest sound to someone's ear is his or her own name. When you meet someone new, repeat his name immediately after hearing it. Use the name a couple of times in conversation. If you can't remember someone's name, say something like, "It's been one of those days. I know you’re Paul’s wife, but please tell me your name again." Or, extend your hand and say your name. This will prompt the other person to say her name too.

-          Don't sit with your friends. Reach out and introduce yourself to people you don't know rather than sticking with only those you do know. An office party is a chance to shine and mingle with those you don't see very often. Have some conversation starters available. Most people love to talk about travel, food and hobbies. 

-          Give thanks to those who helped.  Saying thank you is not only cordial behavior, but will make you stand out from those who don’t express their gratitude.  Send a thank-you note to key persons who helped organize the event and to those who made the event possible. 

For more information and tips of business etiquette, visit Jacqueline Whitmore's websites at: and

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy to Have Known Harvey Posert

Last week seemed to move along at glacial speed.  I heard from a close friend that Harvey Posert wasn't doing well and was in the hospital.  For the next several days I was eager to hear about improvements and reluctant to hear the news on Friday that he had passed away.  I am thrilled to have known Harvey and will miss his laughter and his funny anecdotes.

Early on in my efforts to get WineTalent going I was introduced to Harvey Posert by a good friend of his.   Harvey was happy to discuss my business goals and give me ideas.  While I did not adopt his slogan, "Talking Frog Recruiting" I did quickly learn anything I could from him.

At our first meeting he recommended that I expand from strictly technical recruiting in the wine industry to other roles.  He succinctly said, "You are an idiot if you don't also place sales and marketing folks."  If Harvey said don't be an idiot, you should have listened.  He was right and was very helpful in many plans for WineTalent.

Harvey had a quick wit and funny stories that brought points home.  He was a great mentor for me and would introduce me to people whenever it made sense to.  I can't count the number of relationships I have that were sparked by HP.

A few years ago I sat down with Harvey to discuss his career and posted it on this blog.  Here's a link to that interview.  Hope you enjoy it.  We will miss you and your lovely smile Harvey!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wine Business Monthly's 2014 Salary Survey

The new issue of Wine Business Monthly has the annual Salary Survey.  Click here for the October issue.  The article includes great information from my fellow recruiters, salary levels for various winery roles and the rates of salary increases that the industry is seeing this year.  Back to where we were before the Great Recession finally.  Check it out!  You may just see my smiling face somewhere along the way!

Also I was pleased to see some benefit information included this year.  Great information for employers to see what insurance options are available.