2020 Employment Law Update - Minnesota and Federal

Conferences & Events
Minnetonka, MN
March 12 8:00am - 4:15pm


2020 Employment Law Update - Minnesota and Federal
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Conference Details

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    Almost every decision made as an HR professional is fraught with legal landmines that can bring frustration, fear, and lawsuits. Join our legal experts as they untangle misconceptions and eliminate confusion. At MRA's annual Employment Law Update you will walk away with an understanding of the latest employment-related legal developments and how to deal with them effectively.

    HRCI/SHRM credits applied for.

    Note: Make sure to register first and then add the event to your calendar.

  • Agenda


    Schedule Sessions
    7:15 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Registration / Continental Breakfast
    8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. Opening Remarks
    8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Session 1: Clearing the Smoke on Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements in Light of Medical Marijuana, CBD Oils, and Lawful Consumables in the Workplace
    9:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Break
    9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Session 2: Next Generation, Compliant Recruitment
    10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break
    10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Session 3: Dust Off Your Employee Handbook. What Updates Should You Have Incorporated that You May Have Missed? Top Handbook Oversights.
    11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch
    12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Session 4: Stop the Madness! Effective ways to Protect Your Organization Against FMLA Abuse and Navigate Related Statutes Along the Way
    1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Break
    2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Session 5: I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now – Top Ten Mistakes Employers Make
    3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Break
    3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Closing Session Panel Discussion: Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Ask the Attorney!
  • Sessions


    Session 1

    8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
    Presented by Deb Weiss & Erik Rootes, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P.
    Clearing the Smoke on Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements in Light of Medical Marijuana, CBD Oils, and Lawful Consumables in the Workplace

    Get real-life examples and understand how the legalization of marijuana, CBD oils, and lawful consumables are affecting Minnesota employment policies and practices.


    • The ABC’s of CBD and how to address the lawful use of products in the workplace
    • Best practices on crafting and implementing an effective drug and alcohol testing policy that avoids common mistakes and pitfalls.

    Session 2

    9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    Presented by Kate Bischoff, tHRive Law & Consulting LLC
    Next Generation, Compliant Recruitment

    Salary history bans, complex and detailed offer letters, AI-assisted sourcing, and chatbots are all coming to a recruitment process near you. All of these present risks that each organization must wrestle with in the coming years. What are you going to do to avoid the all-seeing state or federal eye?


    • Identify emerging compliance issues in recruiting brought on by local and state legislative bodies.
    • Acquire strategies designed to reach compliance.
    • Understand how recruiting is evolving within a tight labor market and with skills shortages.

    Session 3

    10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
    Presented by Mark Pihart, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
    Dust Off Your Employee Handbook

    What updates should you have incorporated that you may have missed? Get recent updates and areas of legal exposure.


    • Core provisions necessary for all handbooks: unlawful harassment, leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation and Minnesota state-specific requirements.
    • Options for structuring PTO policies to comply with new sick and safe leave requirements.
    • Other hot-button handbook issues such as: data privacy and security, marijuana use and rights, Section 7 rights, safe driving, and wage and hour considerations.

    Session 4

    12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
    Presented by Kurt Erickson & Stephanie Sarantopoulos, Littler Mendelson
    Stop the Madness! Effective ways to Protect Your Organization Against FMLA Abuse and Navigate Related Statutes Along the Way

    This session will look at effective ways to protect your organization against FMLA abuse and navigate related statutes along the way.


    • Intermittent FMLA Leave: There is hope, right?
    • Intermittent ADA Leave: Ensuring that employees perform essential job functions.
    • Effective use of honest belief defense.
    • Management’s involvement in executing HR practices.
    • What issues to be mindful of in the context of workers' compensation.

    Session 5

    2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Presented by Cynthia Bremer & Molly Nephew, Ogletree Deakins
    I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now–Top Ten Mistakes Employers Make

    The employment law landscape is an arduous one. With ever-changing laws, new requirements each year, and one of a kind situations, it can be easy to make a mistake. This presentation will review the top ten mistakes that employers often make and tips on ways to prevent making these mistakes.


    • Learn ways to prevent making mistakes that can put you at risk for lawsuits.
    • Learn how to classify and pay employees properly.
    • Learn how to implement effective policies and how to uphold them.

    Closing Session Panel Discussion

    3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
    Presented by Deb Weiss, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., and Cynthia Bremer & Molly Nephew, Ogletree Deakins
    Inquiring Minds Want to Know–Ask the Attorney!

    Finish the conference by asking any unanswered employment law questions you have. Submit your questions in advance or at the event and they will discuss and share their expertise.

  • Speakers


    Debra Weiss

    For the past two decades, Debra Weiss has focused her practice in the area of employment litigation, advising, training, and counseling, where she regularly assists employers with all aspects of employment matters. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. She helps employers navigate through the complicated and often-technical myriad of state, federal and local statutes and laws impacting employment decisions from the hiring process, to performance evaluations, discipline, and separation, as well as litigation arising from all of those stages. Debra understands that business decisions are not always made in the courtroom and works diligently to design practical solutions that balance a company’s legal compliance issues with its business objectives and goals in an evenhanded and creative manner. She also counsels companies and individuals on noncompete, non-solicitation, and trade secret matters. She is a frequent speaker on employment-related topics and has authored several articles that have been published in industry periodicals.


    Kate Bischoff

    Kate Bischoff is an energetic and enthusiastic speaker, human resources professional, employment/labor law attorney, and technology aficionado. The truth is that she loves HR and wants to make companies better - not just compliant. With both domestic and international HR experience, she helps organizations create, revamp and implement effective human resources policies and practices to drive innovation and business.


    Erik Rootes

    Erik Rootes is an associate in Meagher & Geer’s employment services group, where he is focused on providing strong advocacy for clients in litigation matters. Prior to joining M&G, Erik gained invaluable experience serving as a judicial law clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota District Court. He graduated with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law, participating on the Iowa Law Review and earning top grades in courses such as Employment Discrimination. Erik often offers his insight during presentations on trending employment issues, and he recently wrote an article, analyzing the interplay between Minnesota’s Worker’s Compensation Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, in the summer volume for the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association.


    Mark Pihart

    Mark A. Pihart is a shareholder practicing in the areas of Employment Counseling and Employment Litigation, and is the co-chair of the Employment Law group. Mark advises and represents a variety of clients on matters regarding employment discrimination, employment laws and regulations. He has extensive experience in representing and counseling clients on a wide range of employment related issues, including the hiring process, employment agreements, discrimination issues, leave of absence issues, wage and hour issues, non-competition covenants, trade secret issues, use of social media in the workplace, breach of contract claims and the termination process, including unemployment claims and compliance with state and federal employment laws. Mark frequently trains Human Resources professionals, managers and employees around the country on a host of employment-related topics.


    Kurt Erickson

    Kurt J. Erickson has significant experience in representing public and private employers in labor and employment matters. He appears regularly before state and federal courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, as well as proceedings before other state administrative tribunals. Kurt routinely defends clients in litigation matters, including class action litigation, involving discrimination and harassment, accommodation issues, whistleblowing and retaliation, breach of contract, unfair labor practices, and trade secret and non-compete issues.  In addition, he provides advice and counsel to clients on these matters and other employment law issues such as drafting of employee handbooks, policies and procedures and the hiring, performance management and termination of employees. Prior to joining Littler, Kurt was a partner at a large national employment law firm and also worked as in-house corporate counsel for a major airline, where he managed nationwide employment litigation and provided counsel on a wide range of employment related matters. He also served as special assistant and assistant attorney general with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, where he handled a variety of disputes involving race, gender and disability discrimination.


    Stephanie Sarantopoulous

    Stephanie Sarantopoulos is a Shareholder in Littler’s Minneapolis office. She represents and counsels employers in all aspects of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing and non-competition matters. Stephanie has jury trial experience and appears in state and federal courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Working predominately with retail clients, Stephanie also regularly advises employers on day-to-day concerns. Stephanie is a member of Littler Mendelson's Retail Practice Group and also serves on the firm's Associates Committee. She is the firm’s representative for the Twin Cities Diversity Practice group and serves as its lead mentor. A frequent speaker, she has given presentations on overtime laws, employee discipline and documentation, and various employment and other litigation matters. Stephanie has been recognized by Minnesota Law and Politics, as a "Rising Star - Employment Litigation."


    Cynthia Bremer

    Cynthia Bremer is the managing shareholder of the Ogletree Deakins Minneapolis office. Cynthia has extensive experience in employment law and complex litigation matters. While Cynthia’s primary focus has been employment litigation defense in federal and state courts throughout the Midwest, including class and collective actions, Cynthia also advises companies on employment law issues involving past and present employees. Further, Cynthia has litigated numerous restrictive covenants suits, including seeking and defending preliminary injunctions and merit proceedings. In addition to extensive litigation and advising experience in employment law, Cynthia’s experience also includes securities arbitrations, commercial and civil litigation, and intellectual property litigation.


    Molly Nephew

    Molly Nephew is an associate in the Minneapolis office of Ogletree Deakins. Molly graduated cum laude from Hamline University School of Law, where she also earned her Dean’s List honors and a certificate from the Dispute Resolution Institute that recognized her studies in alternative dispute resolution. While in law school, Molly was an Associate Editor of the Hamline Law Review, received the CALI Excellence Award in Negotiation, and placed in the Top 20 of the 2015 International Chamber of Commerce Mediation Competition in Paris, France. Molly received her undergraduate degree in Broadcasting and Communications, cum laude, from North Dakota State University.

  • Register



    Member Early Bird: $250 (Deadline: Thursday, February 27, 2020)
    Member Attendee: $325 (After Thursday, February 27, 2020)
    Nonmember Attendee: $375

    Cancellation and Refund Policy:
    Attendee substitutions may be made at any time and are encouraged when the original registrant cannot attend. If you must cancel or reschedule, please notify us at least three (3) business days prior to the program to receive a full refund of the program price. Cancellations or date changes made less than 3 business days prior to the program will incur the full registration cost.

  • Sponsorship


    Sponsoring MRA events is a tremendous opportunity to bring your message of business value to our growing membership of organizations HR professionals and business leaders. Our members represent all industries including manufacturing, service, distribution, finance and health care! 80% of event attendees are new at each event offering you the opportunity to network with new contacts. We are very excited about the event this year and hope you can join us!

    For more information on sponsorship and exhibit booths, call Katie Chapman at 262.696.3365 or katie.chapman@mranet.org.

    Signature Sponsors:

  • Facility


    Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
    5801 Opus Parkway
    Minnetonka, MN 55343

  • Accommodations and Special Requests

    Accommodations and Special Requests

    Please contact us at 800.488.4845 or registrations@mranet.org in advance for any accommodations, special requests, or dietary needs. Nursing mothers, please ask the MRA representative at the front desk or the program instructor to show you our private area. Food and beverages provided at conferences, programs, and Roundtables will vary. If you have any special dietary needs (gluten-free, vegetarian, allergies, etc.), please contact the MRA location in advance, so we can provide an appropriate meal.


MN, Minnetonka - Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka MN, 55343

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