Session Descriptions


Collaborative Partnerships: HR, the Business, and the Law

Brian D. Pedrow  BIO

HR professionals should be aware of significant changes over the past year across the spectrum of labor and employment law. In light of major developments from the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Labor Relations Board, the EEOC, and other federal and state agencies, HR professionals must remain vigilant in this complex legal and regulatory environment in order to meet the needs of their organizations. This session will review the most significant changes in labor and employment law from the past year and, more important, how HR professionals should be prepared to educate and interact with their business partners across the organization to develop strategies designed to address these developments. The session will also discuss the future outlook for changes in labor and employment law, so that HR professionals can interface proactively with the business.


Toke It If You Got It:  Marijuana and the Workplace

Lou Chodoff  BIO

The shift regarding marijuana from drug to legal recreation has been one of the most dramatic policy changes in our history.  Today, marijuana is legal in 10 states for recreational purposes and 33 states for medicinal purposes, with other jurisdictions decriminalizing, if not legalizing, the substance.  This session will explore the impact of these changes on your workplace, including legislation changes, implications for drug testing, and non-discrimination and disability laws.  The session will include a survey of recent litigation in PA and NJ and around the country addressing these workplace issues.



Benefits Potpourri:  Navigating Hot Issues and Legal Pitfalls for Employers

Diane Thompson BIO

Many employers seek that competitive hiring and retention edge through their benefits offerings.  This session will explore a variety of issues related to benefits, including hot topics like student loan repayment programs and whether this selective retention strategy can help in a tight labor market.  The session also will address fiduciary pitfalls, such as lawsuits by disgruntled employees who sue over high fees in their 401(k) plans eating into their retirement savings.  Cybersecurity also continues to be a significant concern for employers that sponsor benefit programs, and the session will discuss whether there are legal requirements to protect retirement data held by third party plan administrators. 



The New Employment Frontier:  State and Local Laws

Chris Kelly  BIO

This session will explore the explosion of state and local legislation and regulations, including trends and emerging bills, with a particular focus on PA, NJ, and Philadelphia trends.  Topics to be covered include:  expanding leave laws, salary history inquiries, scheduling regulation, #MeToo laws, equal pay and pay equity, LGBT rights, minimum wage and overtime, and “just cause” legislation, to name a few.  



EEO Charges:  Tips & Best Practices for HR Professionals

Meredith Dante  BIO

Every employer gets an EEO charge from time to time.  This session will discuss the latest developments at the EEOC and state and local agencies and best practices for defending against these charges.  Topics will include how to interact with the investigator, preparing your position statement, whether mediation makes sense, confidentiality of records that support your defenses, and responding to requests (demands) for witness interviews and records.  

Keynote Address

Cherrie Davis BIO

Workplace Culture:  Is Your Culture Costing or Creating?

Workplace Application: Earning opportunity and commitment with today’s workforce requires a genuine culture that speaks to all. This session will align or elevate with an existing cultural strategy and demonstrates how a “mindset shift” in cultural strategy is required to compete and grow in complex and competitive business environments.  Participants will explore proven cultural strategies of today’s leaders.  Presenter challenges conventional thought and offers the audience practical strategies they can immediately leverage to drive business acumen, critical evaluation and cultural effectiveness.  Participants will be inspired to utilize consultative skills to retrofit existing cultural competency models to their strategy with a focus on people and process. The outcome of this keynote will be an industry of leaders more prepared to curate innovative cultures that thrive in today’s complex and competitive environment.

 Learning Objectives:

           Determine cultural intelligence readiness;

           Learn the keys to building high-trust, high-value cultures;

           Walk through cultural competency model and how it can elevate critical evaluation of your organization; and

           Best practices to manage in a globally diverse workforce.

Large Group Presentation

The Gig Economy:  Ushering in a New Era of Worker Classification Challenges

Shannon Farmer BIO

With the push of an app -- ridesharing takes you to work, food delivery brings your favorite online lunch, dog walkers take Spot for his mid-morning stroll, and before you arrive home (by rideshare again), you rented out your designer clothes – all thanks to gig workers!  Whether or not you use flexible or contingent workers, the gig economy is changing the face of what it means to be employed.  The law is slowly catching up with increased focus on appropriate classification of the working relationship; contracts with third parties, like staffing agencies; and compliance with federal and state employment and labor laws.  Employers need to pay careful attention to these issues, since authorities have begun to grapple with the growing gig economy—and often take approaches that are diametrically opposed to one another.  This session will provide practical tips for employers that interact with contingent and flexible workers