Conference explores changing employment law

When it comes to handling day-to-day employment issues, it might seem like the only constant is change. State and federal courts change how various aspects of employment laws are interpreted. Federal agencies change employer responsibilities and employee rights. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor wants to change how organizations compensate their employees.

Business owners, managers and human resource professionals who want to keep abreast of changes will have an opportunity to do so at the Western Colorado Human Resource Association spring employment law conference.

The conference is set for 7:30 am. to 4:30 p.m. April 20 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. in Grand Junction. Admission is $159 for WCHRA members and $179 for others. Those who join the WCHRA and register for the conference at the same time, qualify for the bundled rate of $268 for Society of Human Resource Management members and $308 for others. To register for or obtain more information about the conference, log on to

Bechtel & Santo, a Grand Junction law firm that practices employment law for businesses and advices employers on all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, will present the conference.

Michael Santo, managing attorney of Bechtel & Santo, will begin the conference with his update on recently implemented and proposed legislation as well as recent labor and employment-related court decisions that provide guidance and into how laws are interpreted.

Conference participants then will chose between sessions on documentation and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

One session will offer an overview of three categories of documents: those employers are required to have, those employers should make time to compile and those employers might want to gather for employees. The other session will examine anticipated changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Department of Labor is expected to curtail employer use of salary exempt classifications, meaning more employees will be eligible for overtime pay. 

Two subsequent sessions will offer conference participants a choice between presentations on how employers handle leave requests under state workers’ compensation and other employment laws and changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act, including  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement efforts and positions on pregnancy related disabilities and service animals.

After lunch, Santo and Alicia Severn and Dean Harris, two other attorneys with Bechtel & Santo, will lead a discussion of significant developments in labor and employment law. The panel will address issues and provide practical guidance and strategies for managing day-to-day issues. The attorneys will cover recent Supreme Court rulings, the expanding reach of the National Labor Relations Board, updates on marijuana issues, employee handbooks, recent increases in age discrimination filings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Colorado affirmation form requirements, the federal E-verify program and  properly documenting employee performance issues. The panel will also welcome questions. 

After the panel presentation, two sessions will offer a choice between presentations on managing the millennial generation and responding to an audit from a state or federal agency. The conference will conclude with sessions on workplace wellness programs and the hiring process, including interview questions and selecting the best candidates.

This story was provided by Bechtel & Santo, a Grand Junction law firm emphasizing employment law for businesses. Attorneys Michael Santo, Dean Harris and Alicia Severn represent private businesses, government entities and nonprofit organizations regarding all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. For more information, call 683-5888 or visit