My 48-hour whirlwind trip last week to the Big Easy – New Orleans – marked my first SHRM experience. As a product marketing manager, I enjoy connecting with the audiences I serve – it’s fun and enlightening. Even more important though, the better I understand your industry, the challenges you tackle in your role, the better I can articulate how we at GovDocs can make employment law management easier for your organization.
With this goal in mind, here are four things I learned as a first-time attendee:
1. Employment law is a significant enough topic to merit its own track
Wow, was I excited about SHRM’s Employment Law and Legislation track. As GovDocs’ core area of business, it’s reaffirming to see this is also a critical topic for human resources professionals.
So, with one day to cram, I attended three incredibly relevant and compelling sessions:
- How to Survive an OFCCP Audit Under the New Administration
- Help! I have California Employees. Now What?
- The U.S. Department of Labor: A Look Ahead
2. We were correct! Our forecasted 2017 employment law trends are, indeed, happening now.
We published a post late last year on 2017 employment law trends, predicting activity at the federal, state and local levels, particularly resulting from the change in presidential administrations.
For instance, we know federal contractor laws are confusing for companies holding these contracts. We focus on what laws apply and the required postings. Of course, there’s so much more to the story.
Across two sessions, I learned companies also may be audited by government agencies like the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which happens to be in a state of change. For one (as of SHRM), it doesn’t have an appointed director yet, which could be announced by the Department of Labor sometime this year.
Plus, the administration has proposed a possible merger of the OFCCP and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which although it faces opposition from civil rights groups and business communities, might create more uncertainty with how the combined agencies will operate and, ultimately, how federal contractors are affected.
Then, there’s California, which sets a trend for state, city and county employment laws. With an entire session dedicated to California – packed to the point of standing room only – I have a better understanding of how complicated things really are for employers with locations here.
In fact, speaker Brenda S. Kasper, put it something like this, “Where the country goes, California goes first … A good experience for companies who do business there.”
In addition to the prominent laws like minimum wage and paid sick leave, California is also working hard at ban-the-box laws, which prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal history during the application process.
3. The speakers are top-notch experts in their respective fields
I was blown away by the caliber of speakers, which I’ve included below. These three women are not only incredibly insightful and engaging with direct experience in their session topics, they had this unique ability to perfectly apply complicated laws and issues to their audiences.
What I truly appreciated, however, was the level of information delivered with humor. Employment law is one dry subject. Yet, these speakers each made it fun and relatable, which makes the overall session experience that much stronger.
How to Survive an OFCCP Audit Under the New Administration
Lynn Clements, Director, Regulatory Affairs, Berkshire Associates, Inc.
Help! I Have California Employees. Now What?
Brenda S. Kasper, Partner, Kasper & Frank LLP
The U.S. Department of Labor: A Look Ahead
Tammy McCutchen, Principle, Littler Mendelson PC
4. A perfect venue for the GovDocs Minimum Wage launch
Lastly, SHRM was THE place to launch our newest product, GovDocs Minimum Wage, a data-based application providing minimum wage rates based on a company’s specific locations. Here was our thrilling opportunity to share it with the world – which we’re all excited about.
In a word, I can’t wait to go back – there’s so much more to see, know and learn. So, hopefully, I’ll see you in Chicago next year!