EmployerLINC 2012 draws hundreds of employers and HR professionals

A capacity crowd gathered in the second floor grand ballroom at the Cox Convention Center to attend McAfee & Taft’s EmployerLINC 2012 seminar in Oklahoma City on April 10, 2012.

Executives, managers and human resources professionals from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas were among the 800 registrants for McAfee & Taft’s EmployerLINC 2012 seminars held at Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa on April 3rd and Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City on April 10th.

The theme for this year’s employment law and employee benefits seminar was “Adventures in HR,” reflecting “the dangers, thrills and challenges of the workplace every day,” such as the maze of state and federal rules and regulations to navigate, common traps and lesser-known legal pitfalls to avoid, and obstacles to overcome.

The opening session featured a panel of local human resources professionals, moderated by employment attorney Charlie Plumb, sharing their insights on some of the hottest issues that they are dealing with in the workplace. In Tulsa, the panel included Matt Watson of Apache Exploration, Livia Bennett with Griffin Communications (KOTV Channel 6), and Russell Gale with the City of Broken Arrow. In Oklahoma City, the panel included Russ Moen of Express Employment Professionals, Anita Breen with the City of Edmond, and Scott Briggs with The Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO).

Following the general session were six breakout sessions, which covered some of the most frequently requested topics.

Employment attorneys Paul Ross (both seminars) and Betsy Wood (Oklahoma City seminar) discussed the issue of workplace bullying and its legal implications during his presentation titled “Ticking Time Bombs.” Employee benefits attorney Bill Freudenrich and Teah Corley, CEO of consulting firm PremierSource, presented “Hidden Treasure,” a discussion of the latest strategies for finding potentially significant cost savings in your health plans as well as legal implications of dealing with issues such as smokers in health plans.

In another session titled “Operation: Sanity,” employment attorneys Sam Fulkerson (Tulsa) and Michael Lauderdale (Oklahoma City) shared practical tips for dealing with the traps and pitfalls of employee terminations, basic management and interpersonal skills that help diffuse the anger of discharged employees, and a litigation strategy of “winning” lawsuits by avoiding them altogether. Employee benefits attorneys Jim Prince and Alison Patel discussed how retirement plan fiduciaries can minimize their exposure to personal and corporate liability, and shared actual examples of lawsuits against plan fiduciaries in a session titled “Proceed with Caution.”

In their presentation titled “Dodging Bullets,” employment attorneys Kathy Neal (Tulsa) and Nathan Whatley (Oklahoma City) offered tips for handling wage and hour audits by the Department of Labor, what specific issues the agency is targeting, and what you can do to avoid other wage and hour surprises. Finally, employment attorneys Charlie Plumb (Tulsa), Tony Puckett (Oklahoma City) and Sharolyn Whiting-Ralston (both seminars) presented “Avoiding the ADA Abyss,” which focused on three challenging aspects of The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) that frequently threaten to trip up employers.

This annual seminar, held in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa each year, is McAfee & Taft’s largest and most anticipated event of the year, offered at no cost to employers, firm clients and invited guests. Last year, the firm changed from two semi-annual seminars to one concentrated annual seminar supplemented by several one-hour webinars throughout the year on both timely topics and frequently-asked-about issues, which have been very well received and drawn large online audiences. McAfee & Taft also continues to expand the information and resources it offers employers and HR professionals by growing its EmployerLINC website and law blog, with more frequent posts about the latest news, commentary and analysis of current employment law and employee benefits issues.