More than 1,100 executives, human resource professionals and benefits managers registered for EmployerLINC16, McAfee & Taft’s annual labor, employment and employee benefits seminar held at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on March 30 and at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa on April 5.
This year’s theme, “Employers Under Pressure,” focused on the timely concerns of employers about the changing workforce, uncertain economy, ever-changing (and sometimes conflicting) laws with no clear guidance, hidden surprises in the law, ramped-up enforcement initiatives by state and federal authorities, and the increased potential for litigation. McAfee & Taft attorneys provided attendees updates on trends in state and federal laws and regulations as well as regulatory enforcement actions, and offered practice advice for dealing with uncertain times.
Hosted by the Labor and Employment Group, the morning session was highlighted by a special presentation by new Labor Commissioner Melissa McLawhorn Houston about the Oklahoma Department of Labor and current enforcement priorities. Other topics presented by McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorneys included strategies for discouraging high-exposure employment litigation, how to prepare for the new DOL overtime rules, key issues for misclassification of contractors, and the NLRB’s stance on responding to employee outbursts on social media. Featured presenters during the morning session included attorneys Elizabeth Bowersox, Michael F. Lauderdale, Anna C. Lukeman, Kathy R. Neal, Charles S. Plumb and Paul A. Ross.
Hosted by the Employee Benefits Group, the afternoon session was highlighted by a presentation with special guest Ed Salyers discussing lessons learned as a retired IRS auditor and best practices for employers to stay prepared for a benefit plan audit. Other topics presented by McAfee & Taft employee benefits attorneys included emerging gender identity benefits issues and unexpected traps in the Affordable Care Act; overlooked employment tax issues; COBRA, HIPAA and other medical plan issues; and employee benefits issues related to same-sex marriage, common law marriage and divorce. Featured presenters during the afternoon session included attorneys Jennifer H. Callahan, Bill G. Freudenrich, Barbara Klepper, Brandon P. Long, John A. Papahronis and James C. Prince.