EmployerLINC17 draws large crowds looking for answers about new administration

In the wake of the recent transition of power in Washington, D.C. from one administration to another, McAfee & Taft’s annual labor, employment and employee benefits seminar attracted more than 1,100 registrants searching for answers about what changes lie ahead with new leadership at the nation’s top federal employment agencies, changes in budgets and direction, and changes in enforcement priorities.

Executives, human resource professionals and benefits managers gathered for EmployerLINC17, the full-day seminar held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on March 22 and at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa on March 23. This year’s theme, “Back to Basics,” encouraged HR and benefits professionals to focus on compliance fundamentals, including proactive training of the entire workforce on state and federal employment laws rather than take a wait-and-see approach with the new administration.

Hosted by the Labor and Employment Group, the morning session included an overview of the anticipated changes in leadership and direction at the Department of Labor, EEOC, and National Labor Relations Board, as well as discussion of why the threat of employment litigation is likely to increase, despite the fact that federal agencies are expected to cut back on their own enforcement and prosecution initiatives.

Other topics included recognizing and addressing mental and emotional issues in the workplace, workplace bullying and violence, compliance with OSHA’s new drug testing guidance, do’s and don’ts for fair competition as it pertains to new and departing employees, and avoiding claims of retaliation associated with whistleblowing. Featured presenters during the morning session were attorneys Elizabeth Bowersox, Courtney Bru, Phil Bruce, Roberta Fields, Paige Good, Lauren Hanna, Anna Lukeman, Kathy Neal, Charlie Plumb, Tony Puckett, Paul Ross, Kristin Simpsen and Nathan Whatley.

Hosted by the Employee Benefits Group, the afternoon session featured an update on the new administration’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, as well as presentations on core issues facing employer-sponsors of health, retirement and executive compensation plans. Featured presenters during the afternoon session included attorneys Jennifer H. Callahan, Barbara KlepperBrandon P. LongJohn A. Papahronis and James C. Prince.

McAfee & Taft is Oklahoma’s largest law firm and one of the nation’s top 250 firms as ranked by the National Law Journal. With its deep roster of 170 attorneys, the firm serves clients locally, nationally and internationally in the areas of appellate, aviation, banking and financial institutions, bankruptcy, business restructuring and workouts, business transactions and finance, employee benefits and executive compensation, energy and oil & gas, environmental, healthcare, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, real estate, securities, subrogation recovery services, and tax and family wealth.