Registration under way for employment law conference

Phil Castle
Phil Castle

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Registration remains open for an annual employment law conference that offers not only practical advice to savvy human resource professionals, but also information to help small business owners and managers avoid potential legal pitfalls.

“This is a good chance in a day-long period to get a whole bunch of good information,” said Michael Santo, managing member of the Bechtel & Santo law firm in Grand Junction.

The firm will present an employment law and legislative update for the Western Colorado Human Resource Association. The conference is set for 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 29 at Two Rivers Convention Center, 159 Main St. in Grand Junction.

Admission is $179 for WCHRA members, $219 for others. A bundled rate offering membership and admission to the conference also is available. To register or obtain more information, log on to www.wchra.org.

In addition to a review of the latest state and federal legislative changes in employment law, the conference will offer two tracks of presentations on such topics as the Americans with Disabilities Act, dealing with problem employees, discrimination laws, employee handbooks, managing leave, National Labor Relations Board issues and unemployment claims. A skit will depict issues that arise in audits conducted by the Department of Labor.

Santo said members of the WCHRA bring to their jobs training and experience in HR management. “They’re a very knowledgeable group.”

While they don’t need a primer on the basics, they also aren’t interested in the more esoteric aspects of employment law, Santo said. “We really focus on practical, day-to-day things.”

At the same time, though, the conference also offers information to owners and managers from smaller operations that don’t have an HR department or even an HR manager, Santo said.

Complying with employment law and  following good HR practices have become even more important for small businesses following the enactment of state legislation that makes it easier to sue employers for discrimination, even those with small operations, Santo said.

Moreover, a provision of the law that provides for the payment of fees of attorneys who are successful in their lawsuits could further encourage litigation, he said.