Peninsula Small Business Talk

from the Peninsula Executives Association


Posts Tagged ‘Clark Associates’

HR Consulting, Investigations, and Expert Witness Services from Maureen Clark, Three Sixty HR, Inc. (formerly Clark Associates)

Maureen Clark, Three Sixty HR, Inc. (formerly Clark Associates) recently spent some time explaining to PEA members how her business has grown and changed in the last couple of years.  Maureen began Clark Associates in 1985 and joined PEA in 1986.  Michelle Walsh joined her in 2010.   The business became an LLC in 2011 and incorporated in 2012.  Maureen is currently working on obtaining her CA Private Investigator License.   By becoming a private investigator, Maureen will be able to do internal investigations into HR issues.

Maureen went on to explain the three aspects of her business.

1) HR Consulting

HR consulting is what Maureen has been doing from the beginning.  Topics she covers includes legal protection for discrimination, harassment, whistle blowing, retaliation, disabilities, and leave of absence.  She can also advise on issues around pay and benefits (like exempt vs nonexempt), timekeeping, make-up time, overtime, meal and rest breaks, telecommuting, and independent contractors.  She also advises on due process issues, like terminations.  With HR consulting, Maureen’s clients are the employers.  She can help them do things like write employee handbooks and disability documentation.

2) HR Investigations

HR investigations is like a subset of her larger work in HR consulting.  This would include looking into complaints or suspicion of complaints.  Maureen is looking into what is really involved with potential complaints since sometimes employees might have the right to complain but aren’t aware of it.  Ultimately, her role is to conduct an independent investigation into whether the complaints are substantiated.  In investigations, her clients and employers or employers’ legal counsel.  With attorney/client privilege involved, they often need an independent investigator.

3) HR Expert Witness

Maureen had her first case as an expert witness eight or nine years ago.  Maureen describes HR expert witness work as subset of her work in investigations.  As an expert witness, Maureen’s clients are the legal counsel for the plaintiff or the defense.  When she is doing expert witness work, Maureen is looking at what really happened to the employee, which can be difficult since the employee is often no longer there.

Summarizing her work, Maureen explained that consulting is when she helps an employer keep on the right track.  Investigations happen when they are starting to go awry, and expert witness work happens when something has gone completely off the track.  All the work still revolves around the same core topics.  A good consulting lead for Maureen is small to mid-size employers.  For internal investigations, a good lead is employers of any size, HR executives, or legal counsel (internal or external).  A good lead for expert witness work is external legal counsel.

Finally, Maureen shared a link to consumer information about insurance coverage through California’s health exchange – CoveredCA. She explained that the information is very readable and encouraged PEA members to take a look at it HERE (full link:

Clark Associates on the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011 and the Brinker decision

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates has handled client businesses from “cradle to grave” and has worked with an amazing variety of clients. They have over 200 clients that include everything from electricians to public relations consultants to clairvoyants. While most of their work is done in state, they have also done out of state work at times.  Maureen’s services now range from HR consulting to internal investigations to consulting as an expert witness in legal cases.

Clients commonly need help in defining sensible, fair workplace rules, developing clear, open communications, making sure they are compliant with all current legal regulations and resolving problems at an early stage. She has had start-up companies come to her for help because July 4th was looming and they hadn’t formulated a holiday policy yet. Many companies struggle to document their policies in a way that is clearly communicated to their employees. Since many of the Clark Associates clients are small to medium-sized companies, they frequently work with other service providers, such as attorneys or accountants, who are engaged by the client.

Some of the main services of Clark Associates include: employee handbooks, on-line training, and help with internal processes. The internal processes can include hiring, performance reviews, compensation and wage and hour administration, benefits and benefits administration, discipline and corrective counseling, and termination or staff reduction. In addition, they will conduct internal investigations or serve as expert witness in legal proceedings.

Maureen informed PEA of some recent legislation that all business owners with employees should be aware of. One is the Wage Theft Protection Act of 2011. This applies to nonexempt employees hired after January 1, 2012 and current employees within seven days of changes. The intent of the act is to prevent the theft of wages withheld for paying taxes. Maureen recommends that employers download the current form (DLSE-NTE) from the California government web site and give to any new or changed employees. She suggests that you add “at will” language to the form. Someone at your company should be ensuring compliance for distributing this form including reviewing paystubs for overlapping information. You should monitor the Labor Commissioner’s website periodically for new information and maintain your payroll records for a minimum of three years.

Secondly, there is the recent Brinker decision, which was decided by the California Supreme Court on April 12, 2012. Employees sued the Brinker Restaurant Corporation (Chili’s) for failing to provide meal and rest breaks. There are a set of new rules about providing rest and meal breaks to employees. Maureen provided a handout with details on these new rules. If you did not attend the meeting and would like a copy, please contact Maureen.

Hear from other PEA businesses by becoming a member!  Read more about PEA here.

March Success Stories Round-up!

  • Laurie Moore, Larry’s Autoworks thanked Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage for the refinance.
  • Erik Jacobsen, Threestory Studio got a call from another attorney from the law firm that he mentioned in his classification for more visual information design.  His work will also be used by the Los Altos Rotary for their upcoming Fine Arts in the Park.
  • Randy Mills, Pioneer Services bought a new van through Mike Feller, Innovative Sales & Leasing and said it was much better than going through a dealership.
  • Maureen Clark, Clark Associates thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for coming to the rescue again.
  • Tom Brown, All Reasons Moving reported that they just finished looking at their quarterly results and were up 25% in January and 15% in February.
  • Kaye Sharbrough, Senior Seasons thanked David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties for fulfilling her small order – buttons congratulating a friend who just won an award for being an exceptional woman in publishing.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler reported that they won Best Jewelry Store and Best Watch Repair.
  • Judy Ott, Judy Ott Organization and Design thanked Dan Ingerman, Wemorph for the postcards she handed out at a recent presentation. Lastly, she thanked Richard Phillips, Advantage Career Solutions who has help her friend from out of state find a job at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga (Go Gaels!).
  • John Sylvester, SST Insurance Brokers had his hair cut by the President… of PEA, Susan Scott, Expressions Salon.
  • David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties thanked Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery for the amethyst he bought for his wife and Mike Feller, Innovative Sales & Leasing for the help with getting his brand new Prius.
  • Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc said after throwing his back out on Monday he saw Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic who adjusted him and used a laser treatment on his back.  Only three hours later, Avi felt much better.
  • Skip Gould, San Mateo Daily Journal thanked Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures for running an ad in the paper for her recent estate sale.  He was able to get the ad in past the normal deadline and was happy to hear the sale was a success.
  • Executive Director Neal Coogler, announced a success for PEA.  The PEA Facebook page now has more than 35 ‘Likes’!  Mike Clark, Michael J. Clark, CPA won the grand prize drawing for three pounds of Connoisseur Coffee.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist recently had her car in the shop at Larry’s Autoworks. She really appreciates the top notch service there, including the fact that they take time to thoroughly answer all her questions.
  • Karen Bowne, Sheraton Palo Alto thanked Werner Rogmans, Stanford Floral Design for his help weekend before last.  She was attending a housewarming party and needed a gift.  She went by Werner’s shop and he arranged a beautiful house plant for her.
  • Nichole Fox, Payroll City announced that they have just taken on a big new client.  The client, who has 135 employees, went from a big name payroll service to Payroll City and in the process is going from an annual cost of $13,000 to $8,000.
  • Dr. Linda Hur, Mountain View Optometry thanked Scott Yeaman, Yeaman Autobody, for fixing her car for the second time.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage won a pound of Connoisseur Coffee in the PEA Facebook page contest a week or two ago.  She gave the coffee to her aunt, who is a dedicated coffee drinker.  Her aunt loved the coffee and ordered three more pounds through Julie.

Other Awards from the 2012 Anniversary Meeting

Besides the prestigious Craig Calkins Executive of the Year Award (presented this year to Karen Bowne, Sheraton Palo Alto), PEA hands out many other awards at the annual Anniversary meeting. Here are some highlights of this year’s awards!

Fun statistics:

Breakfasts consumed in 2011: …… 2,571.

Total leads given:…… 5,260 (Direct: 3,240. Referral: 1,580. Internet: 440)

New Members: President Mike Feller, Innovative Sales and Leasing recognized the new members of 2011, and presented the certificate award for Rookie of the Year to new member Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors!

Leads Given in the Triple Digits: The following people were recognized for giving leads in the triple digits last year-

Mike awarded the certificate for Most Direct Leads Given to Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… who gave the most direct leads(171)  after Hall of Famers Larry and Laurie Moore (268).

Referral Leads Given in the Triple Digits: The following two people gave referral leads in the triple digits-

He awarded the certificate for Most Referral Leads Given to Judy Ott, Judy Ott Organization and Design!  (She and runner-up Bette Asbra, Pro-Staff Painting have been in the triple digits four years running!)

Best Attendance: Tie for first place went to Larry and Laurie Moore, Larry’s AutoWorks and Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic

Honorable Mention Attendance: Only one meeting behind the best attendance members, honorable mention attendance was a tie between Mike Feller, Innovative Sales and Leasing, Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist, and Julie and Rick Stern, Stern Mortgage

Award Certificates: Mike presented Certificates of Award to the following members:

Mike also congratulated Paul Kraus, formerly of GoodCo Press, who was visiting and is our newest Emeritus Member.

We concluded by all making a toast to PEA’s 34th anniversary!

Why You Need Employment Practices Liability Insurance with John Sylvester, SST Insurance Brokers

John Sylvester, SST Insurance Brokers used his spotlight talk to tell PEA about the value of having employment practices insurance coverage.  John gave two cautionary scenarios to illustrate the potential need for this type of insurance.

He began by having PEA members imagine this situation: You get to your office and are presented with a summons that says you are being sued by a former employee you let go recently.  Now, the employee is suing you for wrongful termination.  You call your insurance broker, assuming it would be covered through your comprehensive general liability or workers compensation since it is an employee-related lawsuit.  He says, however, that this kind of lawsuit is excluded under those policies, so you will need to hire your own attorney.  If any judgment is made against you, you will need to reach into the company assets or your personal assets to pay it.

John presented a second situation; this time an actual case experienced by a client who did have employment practices insurance coverage.  This client had an employee who worked for them for three years and then decided to resign and move to across the bay with her boyfriend.  Two months later, John’s client received a letter from the California State Employment Bureau saying that a complaint had been filed.  The complaint stated that the employee left due to a hostile work environment.  They called John and SST Insurance Brokers, who turned the case over to the employment practices liability carrier.  They provided an attorney and defended the case.  The business did pay a deductible of $2,500, but that was much less than the lawyer fees.  John’s client did not have to worry about the business being closed down and the suit was successfully defended.

Employment practices insurance covers situations like wrongful termination, failure to promote, hostile work environment, and sexual harassment (including employees suing the company or clients claiming employees have harassed them).

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates commented that what John says is true and that the insurance is very reasonable in price.  In answer to a question, John said the cost of insurance is based on the number of employees.  These types of lawsuits have been on the rise the last ten years and John says are likely to continue to increase.  He highly recommends this coverage to PEA businesses and says he can handle it for you if needed.

October/November Double Feature- Success Stories Round-up!

  • Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors said his open house went well.  He turned his workroom into a showroom for the event.  He thanked Albert Ong, Ambassador Services for getting a seemingly impossible-to-remove stain out.  He thanked Skip Gould, San Mateo Daily Journal for handling the ad and was glad to see a few PEA members there.  He had flooring covering by Terry Pebbles, Optimum Floors also included in their presentation.
  • Avi Safar, Footwear, Etc said that the Footwear, Etc. owner just had a big event at the Sheraton Palo Alto.
  • Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic had a success story for Jeff Badzik, Perfection Auto Detail.  Jeff was voted best auto detailer in the Bay Area by 95% of his customers.
  • Dave O’Neal, Comtech Computing thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for the smooth installation of a new heater while he was gone.
  • David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties is celebrating his 30th year as a PEA member this month.
  • Maureen Clark, Clark Associates thanked Albert Ong, Ambassador Services for the great job cleaning her carpets.  She also thanked Roger Bolgard, Jackson & Miller for the referral.
  • Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures thanked Curtis Lane, Lane Cleaning Services for help with a recent client.  This was a fast turnaround job with 24 hours notice and the team did a great job.  She also thanked Dave O’Neal, Comtech Computing for yet another computer rescue.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler thanked Werner Rogmans, Stanford Floral Design for the flowers for her mom.  She also was modeling a new line of Italian gold jewelry.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist thanked Albert Ong, saying that Jonathan Ong, Ambassador Services cleaned her 20-year-old couch and it looks like new.
  • Susan Scott, Expressions Salon thanked Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage for all the work on the new loan.  She was thrilled to get 4.12%.
  • Judy Johnson, Unexpected Treasures thanked Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing for the great job his plumber did.  She also thanked Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic, saying that the laser treatment has really been helping her knee.
  • Dr. Leta Zwiebel, Psychologist reported that the current issue of Gentry magazine has a beautiful picture of Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler.
  • Erik Jacobsen, Threestory Studio has started a Facebook page called Startling Statistics in which he features some of his previewed graphics.  Go by and check it out on Facebook (and don’t forget to like his page).
  • Karen Bowne, Sheraton Palo Alto thanked Larry and Laurie Moore, Larry’s AutoWorks for their recent help.  Her car was just past warranty and she took it to them.  Larry felt that the dealership ought to fix the problem and gave them a call.  In the end, the dealer did fix it at a savings of $750 to Karen.
  • Carol Garsten, Nature Gallery celebrated her 24th year in business last week.  She is also showing some of the work of a local artist in her gallery who works with organic, natural stones and silver.  This artist has become very well known during the years that Carol has worked with her and now has pieces in 62 galleries.
  • Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… thanked Susan Hamilton, VTF Services for fixing her garden.  She also used the crew at Arborwell (thanks to Jon Maystrik, Arborwell Professional Tree Management) to remove a tree and did some shopping at Mollie Stone’s Market.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage thanked Susan Scott, Expressions Salon for her long-overdue (as she described it) haircut.
  • Shawn McMillan, Connoisseur Coffee says that they began construction on rebuilding the Connoisseur Coffee building.
  • Konrad Thaler, Smilin Dogs thanked David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties for the receipt of a shipment of Smilin Dogs jackets.
  • Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler says that the Stanford Mall gets tour buses from time to time.  She recently had a visit from some Asian gentlemen who purchased four Rolex watches with cash and flew back home the next day.
  • Gary Rudolph, Rudolph’s Interiors will be demonstrating some of his techniques to students from Cañada College.

New Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Regulations with Maureen Clark, Clark Associates

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates highlighted some new guidelines for businesses with 15 or more employees.

In California, new regulations state that employees who have completed 90 days of employment and who need time off work to donate bone marrow may receive up to five workdays off.  For employees planning to donate an organ, the leave is up to 30 days.  You may require that they use sick leave or vacation leave if it is available.  If there is no sick leave available, the employees are still entitled to time off.  The specific length of the leave is to be determined by the doctor.  Medical coverage remains in force throughout the leave.  The leave may be taken in one or more periods of time.  The employee may need to take time off for office visits in addition to the surgery.

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates has prepared a handout that is attached in PDF form at the bottom of this post with detailed information about the regulation.  You may share this information with other business owners.  If you have tips for small business owners that you want featured on the PEA blog, email Neal with your ideas.

Donor Leave Details by Clark Associates

May Success Stories Round-up!

Let’s take a minute to celebrate some PEA members’ successes from the month of May!

  • Albert Ong, Ambassador Services had a great success at the beginning of May.  A stone supplier was so impressed with the job that Albert did that he called a friend to recommend him.
  • Dr. Chuck Fulanovich, Palo Alto Chiropractic is very happy with the progress of his office remodeling project.  The new design is giving the whole office a new energy and the phones keep ringing, too.
  • David Gaskill, D.B. Gaskill Advertising Specialties reports that there has been an uptick in business lately with seven active referrals from a recent presentation.
  • Bob Rosenberg, GR8WORK Builders, Inc. participated again this year in Rebuilding Together day.  He and Duane Asbra, Pro-Staff Painting, Terry Pebbles, Piazza Pebbles Floor & Window Covering, and Mike Fox, A&A Plumbing (along with other Rebuilding Together volunteers) worked on a home in East Palo Alto, transforming it in one day.
  • Brad Brown, Brown Financial & Insurance Services was uncomfortable at his desk.  Was it just that he’s getting old?  Good news – Susan Hannah, Ergo Works can make it better (even if part of it is that you are getting old).
  • Albert Ong, Ambassador Services thanked Werner Rogmans, Stanford Floral Design for flowers that he said were unbelievable.
  • Maureen Clark, Clark Associates thanked Randy Mills, Pioneer Services for the outstanding job he did cleaning the windows at their home.  The clean windows give her a new outlook on life.
  • Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… thanked Paul Kraus, Goodco Press for the new business cards.  She just finished a fundraiser that included a fashion show.  Due to rain, they did everything in a tent and a good time was had by all.