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2013 DE State HR Conference Presentations/Powerpoints
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2013 DE State HR Conference Information


Conference Session Summaries

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly:  Employment Law Update Powerpoint Presentation

by Jennifer DeWhitt

The 13th annual Delaware Society of Human Resources State Conference concluded its first day with an information packed employment law session presented by Young, Conaway, Stargatt and Taylor, a platinum sponsor of the conference. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Employment Law Update provided an overview of important recent developments in labor and employment law including Supreme Court and Delaware court decisions, new enforcement priorities for government agencies, pending legislation in Congress and the Delaware General Assembly. The hour and fifteen minute session conducted by William W. Bowser, Lauren E. M. Russell and Scott A. Holt provided attendees with 1.25 general HRCI credits.

Scott A. Holt kicked off the presentation a discussion of the June 2013 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor.  This decision invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law in 1996, and opened the way for same-sex couples to receive an estimated 1,138 federal benefits, rights and privileges which they were previously denied. From there he moved into an update on the National Labor Relations Board. July of 2013 is the first time in ten years that the NLRB will have a fully staffed board. The past couple of years at the NLRB have been marked with numerous pro-union decisions and that current trajectory is expected to continue with the recent appointment of Richard F. Griffin, Jr., a former union attorney. Priorities for the NLRB include close examination of social media policies, investigation policies and workplace expression policies. Any policy that the NLRB deems an infringement on an employees’ right to engage in concerted activity, will come under close scrutiny with the current NLRB, even seemingly reasonable policies such as those that require employees treat each other in a respectful manner and refrain from using vulgar language. 

Scott Holt’s presentation was followed by an update from Lauren E. M. Russell, on the enforcement priorities of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In the upcoming year, the EEOC will be focusing their resources on the reduction of systemic bias and disparate treatment in the employment process and the workplace. Expect to see renewed efforts to ensure legal access to some of the country’s most vulnerable workers, such as migrant farm workers. The agency will focus on background screening techniques such as credit checks and arrest/conviction records, increasing the profile of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and employment complaints that result in settlement agreements, particularly those that contain language limiting an employees’ ability to file EEOC charges or that containing confidentiality clauses, which could lead to reduced legal access for vulnerable workers. 

William W. Bowser closed the session with a humorous and informative presentation entitled, “Sex, Drugs and Fire Hoses,” which focused on recent legal developments at the state level in Delaware concerning gender identity, medical marijuana and emergency responder job protection. In June of 2013, the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act was amended to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This amendment applies to employers with four or more employees and makes gender identity a protected class. Mr. Bowser then went on to share information on Governor Markell’s recent announcement to proceed with Delaware’s medical marijuana program that previously had been suspended over concerns that the federal government might prosecute state employees involved in the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Despite these concerns, Jack Markell has decided that Delaware will move forward with the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act (DMMA), which allows residents with certain medical conditions to purchase marijuana at compassionate care centers around the state and prohibits employers from terminating an employee who tests positive for the drug providing that the employee is not impaired while on the job. 

 This final presentation was wrapped up with a discussion of the Volunteer Emergency Responders Job Protection Act and an amendment to the DDEA that are both intended to provide protection to employees who are absent from their jobs as a result of responding to a Governor-declared State of Emergency, a President-declared National Emergency or as a result of an injury sustains when acting in the capacity of a volunteer emergency responder. It was noted that while an employer may not discipline or terminate an employee under the law, that employers are not required to compensate volunteer emergency responders for time away from work to perform such services. 

Young, Conaway, Stargatt and Taylor, a frequent partner of DE SHRM, delivered a highly educational and entertaining session to conference attendees. Given today’s complicated employment law landscape, it is reassuring to know that we can count on YCST to provide the most current legal information and analysis, along with practical tips for employment policy implementation.


Social Media Update  Powerpoint Presentation

ADA Update Powerpoint Presentation

Presenter:  William Bowser, ESQ

by Julia Orescan, CCP, SPHR, Incyte Corporation

ADA Update was presented by William Bowser, partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, who highlighted how the ADAAA has modified the original ADA law.

Attorney Bowser opened the session with a basic review of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was passed into law in 1990. ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities who can perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodation.  Under ADA, an individual is considered to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities. 

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was a response to a number of decisions by the Supreme Court that had interpreted the original text of the ADA. While the ADAAA did not change the basic definition of Disability, the amendment states the definition “shall be construed in favor of broad coverage”, that the focus should be on whether discrimination occurred, not on whether someone meets the definition of “disability” and the limitation on ability to perform “activities of central importance to daily life” need not be demonstrated.  ADAAA states that limitation is compared using a “common – sense standard, without scientific or medical evidence.”  Additional areas or impact include a lowering of the standard for when a person is “substantially limited” in a major life activity.  Further, ADAAA states that while positive effects of mitigation measures are not to be considered when determining whether someone is disabled – negative effects of measures are to be considered.

To help employers navigate the ADAAA, Attorney Bowser described a step by step frame work for the process of Reasonable Accommodation, an interactive process between employer and employee to determine whether an accommodation is needed or possible.  The benefits of engaging in the interactive process were noted to include avoiding litigation and punitive damages.

Reasonable Accommodation – 5 Step Process

1. Initiate the process (Employee responsibility)

2. Meet with the employee

3. Discuss options/offer the most appropriate accommodation

4. Document the resolution

5. Keep it confidential – “Federal Law requires changes we made, but prohibits further disclosure”

A number of guidelines were shared to help employers address common challenges that arise in dealing with the implementation of reasonable accommodation.   For example, an employer never has to reallocate an essential function of the job, and never has to establish a light duty position.  Since regular attendance is required to perform most jobs, the inability to work a regular schedule makes an employee “unqualified”.   In addition, while changing a supervisor is not a required accommodation, changing the way a supervisor communicates with an employee may be an accommodation.

To avoid being sued, Attorney Bower recommended assuming that ADA applies and determining otherwise, applying reasonable accommodation in the case of employee injury regardless of how the injury  occurred, requiring all employees to perform essential functions, and relying only on medical professionals to determine that an employee is not medically qualified.

Build a Culture of Innovation

Presenter:  Bette Francis, SPHR  Powerpoint Presentation

by Laura Gleason, Recruitment Resource

Bette shared, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Culture can be the number one barrier to innovation and progress. We, as HR professionals, influence the success of our organizations by stepping up as leaders and by using HR tools and platforms to build a culture that embraces innovation. For many in the audience, this thought shifted how we view our opportunity to contribute.

So how can HR professionals establish and maintain a culture that encourages and rewards creativity? Through self-assessment and small group sharing, the audience explored practical methods for overcoming barriers and implementing culture shifts. Bette offered “compliancy is the most difficult thing to change in an organization.” She recommended looking for opportunities to close the gap on where you are today and where you need to be by utilizing hiring strategies, wellness programs, compensation techniques, talent and performance management and other HR systems as gateways to innovation.  Bette encouraged us to stake out our leadership position, face skeptics, collaborate with others, and be persistent. Start with yourself and be the catalyst for cultural innovation - that is the HR professional’s most pressing goal.

Mediation at the DDOL – Young, Conaway, Stargatt, and Taylor

Presenter:  Barry Willoughby, ESQ, & Daniel McGannon

by Julia Orescan, CCP, SPHR, Incyte Corporation

 Mediation at the Delaware Department of Labor was presented by Barry Willoughby, partner at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor and guest speaker Daniel McGannon, who oversees the administration of all employment discrimination claims filed in the state of Delaware at the Delaware Department of Labor (DDOL). 

The presenters began the session by defining Mediation as a popular form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, in vogue with the courts today.   They explained that unlike arbitration, mediation is nonbinding, and provides the opportunity for the parties to tell their stories in a non-belligerent atmosphere in which a neutral third party can facilitate a prompt and private end to a dispute.   There are no opening statements or cross examinations at a mediation hearing.  Instead, the focus with mediation  centers on reaching an agreement between the parties,  not on a win - lose outcome which ties back to a specific event or validation of facts.

Employers were cautioned to consider all the facts of each individual employee situation carefully before moving forward with mediation.    Employers were advised to carefully weigh true liability of a situation versus nuisance value to avoid an expectation from employees that all issues will be handled through mediation with a settlement in the employee’s favor.

McGannon shared guidelines for Employers to reference when preparing for arbitration, stressing the importance of HR’s completion of an internal investigation to gather all relevant documentation pertinent to the case.  Employers were encouraged to share limitations with the arbitrator in advance including any confidential matters which the employer would not be willing to disclose in the arbitration hearing.  Employers were advised offending employees should not be included as attendees at the mediation hearing.

McGannon emphasized the importance of determining in advance what outcome would be necessary to settle the case on the day of the arbitration hearing, with the understanding that each party would need to make concessions to reach an agreement.  Although monetary settlements are most commonly thought of, other options should be considered, such as job reinstatement/modification, education or retraining, changing a termination to a resignation, or a providing a letter of reference.   Settlements could also include disciplining of the perceived offender or transfer of either or both the offender and charging employee.

Additional employer guidelines included ensuring those attending the arbitration hearing have the authority to issue a monetary settlement, or ensuring the decision maker is immediately available by phone if needed.   Employers were advised to have confidentiality agreements and severance packages on hand to facilitate and finalize agreements which end employment.  Employers were encouraged to specify liquidated damages for breach of confidentiality regarding the settlement terms.

Advantages of mediation were noted, including reduced cost of attorney’s fees, avoidance of media coverage, reduced workplace knowledge and less financial and emotional disruption for all parties.


Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals  Powerpoint Presentation   

Presenters: Dr. Pat Buhler and Joel Worden

by Jennifer DeWhitt

The 13th annual Delaware Society of Human Resources State Conference kicked off its first concurrent session on Thursday, November 7th with an engaging presentation titled, “Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals” delivered by Dr. Patricia Buhler and Dr. Joel Worden from Goldey Beacom College. This entertaining session drove home the various ways that communication drives results in our businesses and was certified for 1 HRCI credit hour. 

Dr. Buhler began the session with an overview of the communication process, an investigation into the non-verbal elements of the communication, and a focus on listening as an active role in communication. Many session participants identified with Dr. Buhler’s point that instead of actively listening to others, in many cases individuals are planning and preparing for what they will say in response to a speaker, which ultimately makes our interactions less effective as communicators. 

Other barriers to communication were also examined in Dr. Buhler’s presentation. Frequently, as communicators, we fail to recognize the impact of physical distractions, language barriers such as acronyms, mixed messages that we may send when our body language is in conflict with our words, miscommunications due to gender differences, and the impact that an absence of feedback can have on our communications. 

Dr. Joel Worden then explored techniques that we can use to build on the critical communication skills presented by Dr. Buhler to manage up, down and across our organizations.  He suggested that individuals take a proactive approach to managing their superiors, including studying business leaders to understand their objectives, providing encouragement to one’s boss, disclosing information on a regular basis to help leaders be more effective in their roles, and timing our communications with superiors to ensure the most advantageous outcomes for our businesses.

When managing down in our organizations, Dr. Worden recommended that as business leaders and managers we should be careful to create the proper tone for communications, use inclusive language, use documentation to communicate specific requirements and limit our focus to things that are controllable and achievable.  Dr. Worden wrapped up his presentation with advice on managing sideways, across our organizations. For effective sideways communications, it is necessary to cultivate personal credibility with others, be a reliable and trustworthy collaborator, truly know your company’s goals and the priorities of those you are working with, and always treat others with empathy, just as you would like to be treated.

As supported by the SHRM competency model, communication drives business results for our organizations and can serve as a source of competitive advantage if we as business leaders develop communication skills in our organizations.  To bolster your organization’s skills in effective communication, consider reading Dr. Buhler and Dr. Worden’s recently published book “Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals,” which can be found on the SHRM website for purchase. 


 Workplace Flexibility: The Next Imperative for Business Success and HR Leadership  Powerpoint Presentation


Using Coaching to Optimize Leadership Potential
Amanda Buschi

by Cindy Crompton-Barone, WSFS Bank

Amanda shared the world at work trends for increasing focus on sustainable organizations transformation initiatives and challenge leadership. She shared based on business situations there are various types of coaching services.


Senior leaders not optimizing talent would utilize senior leadership coaching, high potentials talent take larger roles that would require accelerated coaching, new CEOs would require an executive adviser. Coaching is a bridge for organizational alignment and can be applied in many phases. The process for building a coaching system begins with identifying competencies, assessing existing talent for competency gaps, identifying high potential talents then coaching the talent.  Consider contacting Amanda Buschi at Right Management to learn more about the levels of coaching for emerging leaders, developing leaders and strategic leaders.


Decrease Healthcare Costs: Address Financial Stress in Your Work Powerpoint Presentation
Presenter: Jenna Fenstermacher – Employment Curriculum Coordinator- YMCA
by George Barber, Right Management
In this high energy 45 minute presentation, Jenna talked about the effect of financial stress on people and companies, as manifest in both physical symptoms and disease for employees, and the impact on engagement, productivity, retention, absenteeism, and morale in company. Jenna pointed out that this doesn’t have to happen. Providing personal financial education, and financial coaching, can result in a 3:1 return on investment. Jenna presented several case studies which detailed the approaches and results of several organizations who offered financial wellness/financial education programs to their employees. As these programs were strictly voluntary, she pointed out that perhaps the best measure of the importance and perceived value of the programs was the steady increase in enrollment form as low as 35% to over 90% participation.  She also noted that programs showed marked increases in 401K savings plans. Other results showed a marked decrease in 401K loan issuances, as well as average debt decreases by as much as $25,000.  Clearly providing financial wellness assistance can pay big dividends for individuals and organizations.
Critical Social Security Retirement Planning Issues  Powerpoint Presentation
Presenter: Ben Shamburger, MSW
by Nicole Sharp, Herr Foods, Inc.
Ben Shamburger, AKA “Captain Social Security”, gave an informative and packed workshop. What made it even more valuable is that Ben, a retired Social Security Administration employee for 13 years, not only provided everyone with his hands-on knowledge, but opened the presentation with a note that he was there to talk with everyone “frankly, as if they were one of his friends”.  With the many different rules and regulations regarding Social Security and how important this is for lots of different lifestyles; advice like this is invaluable. Ben addressed the who, what, when, where, why, and how’s of Social Security. Ben took questions throughout the presentation, which proved to be valuable for attendees of all ages; not just those close to retirement. He explained the pros and cons of using technology during the application process. Each attendee was able to take with them some valuable handouts and tools, to ensure that enough information was available for them, to make the best decisions for their future. The knowledgeable and helpful demeanor displayed by Ben during this workshop, is reflective throughout his life; serving our country in the Air Force and volunteering in many organizations throughout Delaware. Now after his retirement, he is still finding ways to help or serve, and probably always will.
FMLA: Back to the Basics and 2013 Regulation  Powerpoint Presentation

Jennifer Jauffret, Esq & Lori Brewington, Esq at Richards, Layton, Finger 

by Heather Shupe, Dover Federal Credit Union

This session focused on employer challenges in managing both the basics and the expanded protections of FMLA requirements. The session started with an overview of FMLA basics. Just when one thinks they have FMLA memorized, there is always new information discovered within audience questions. Accompanying the PowerPoint presentation, Jennifer & Lori created an additional booklet with sample forms. They focused on utilizing DOL approved forms so as not to try and reinvent the wheel with potential for litigation. The only special note was that a GINA notification be added as an addendum to the DOL forms. The presentation was woven with real cases and an opportunity for the audience to vote on who won the case: Employer or Employee. What a topic! The hour presentation flew by and Jennifer & Lori had people lined up after the presentation anxiously with more questions. 

Employment Engagement Strategies for Wellness

Presenters:  Abbie Leibowitz, M.D., EVP, Chief Medical Officer and Cofounder HealthAdvocate

by Joanne P. Peake, N.K.S. Distributors, Inc.

Dr. Leibowitz described real-life healthcare situations and challenges faced by Americans.  Healthcare has become increasingly impersonal.  Navigating through the healthcare maze, people do not understand the benefits they have and they do not know who to trust…employers, insurance companies or doctors.

Fact:  Age is a driver of healthcare costs.  We know that people are living longer which adds a strain to healthcare expenses and increase our concern for caring for seniors.  Dr. Leibowitz referenced the Kaiser Family Foundation survey at which tracks opinions of Americans.

Dr. Leibowitz stressed the importance of HR professionals, employees and management to focus on improving employee health, balance work/life, and lower medical costs which are critical to the company bottom line financials, by maximizing benefit investments and increases productivity.

Health Advocate is the nation’s leading independent healthcare advocacy and assistance company, they offer a full spectrum of personalized, cost-effective solutions to help reduce medical costs and improve healthcare outcomes.

Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity “Must Haves” for HR Professionals  Powerpoint Presentation       Presenter:  Ralph Petti  

 This Would be Funny....If it Wasn't Happening to Me!  How to Embrace Change and Life’s Challenges with Enthusiasm and Vigor

Presenter:  Jody Urquhart

by Laura Gleason, Recruitment Resource

“Take yourself lightly” was the message that closed the day. Jody’s  interactive presentation was informative, laugh out loud funny, and touched on many themes we heard throughout the conference. She spoke about generational differences, change management, workplace wellness, leadership, engagement, and effective self-management of our emotions.  

Encouraging us to “laugh at the unexpected,” Jody offered valuable insight into the use of humor to reduce stress and explained how humor can change the way people think, feel and act. There were many belly laugh moments (and even some dancing), but she also bookended each laugh with insightful industry statistics and practical advice. She was smart, funny, and motivating. She explained that humor opens doors to find common ground with employees, break down barriers and deal with difficult people (a day in the life of an HR professional!). Jody’s unique presentation enlightened the audience and gave us a great tool for increasing our success and effectiveness as HR professionals.


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