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Annual Conference


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BOLI's 38th Annual Employment Law Conference is November 9th and 10th (Wednesday and Thursday). 

This year's conference will be 100% virtual. 

BOLI’s Annual Employment Law Conference helps employers navigate complex – and often changing – workplace rules. Our 38th annual event will include over 20 sessions on the topics that concern Oregon employers the most.

Paid leave. Performance management pitfalls. Wage and hour challenges. New laws. The list goes on....

For practical insight and timely updates, you don’t miss this opportunity to connect with Oregon’s top employment law attorneys, human resource experts, and of course, BOLI’s Employer Assistance team.

We hope you’ll join us!

One price for the whole event: $350 

Can’t make a session? Recordings will be available to attendees shortly after the event.

HRCI, SHRM and CLE recertification credit approval pending. 

Sorry, registration for 2022 has closed!

Our agenda, showing topics, days and times, is available here.*

Day 1 - Wednesday, November 9th 

2022 Case Law Update

Session Description

This session will cover recent case law and legislative updates on the Oregon and national level that may have an impact on employers, and offer key takeaways for how employers, managers, and human resources personnel can avoid potential compliance pitfalls.


Anthony D. Kuchulis Littler Mendelson P.C.

​​Anthony D. Kuchulis is a Shareholder at Littler Mendelson P.C. where he focuses his practice on helping employers and management solve difficult employment questions and challenges. Anthony prides himself on being a partner to his business clients and an experienced legal consultant who examines all aspects of a challenge for the most expeditious solution. With over a decade of trial experience, Anthony has represented employers and businesses in the northwest and across the country of all sizes, on all matters, including trying cases to juries, arbitrators, and judges, as well as defending businesses and management from state and federal labor department complaints, including OSHA, BOLI, WISHA, DOL, EEOC (and more). Anthony is known for his creative litigation strategies and often unconventional advice work that includes an analysis of all legal and nonlegal options available to ensure the best possible outcome to the most complex problems. ​

Cristin Casey​ Littler Mendelson P.C.

​​Cristin Casey is a labor and employment litigation and advice attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C. where she focuses her practice on representing Oregon employers in workplace disputes and helping employers navigate the complexities of Oregon employment law. Cristin has extensive experience in wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, retaliation, disability and reasonable accommodations, leave laws, and workplace investigations. Prior to joining Littler, Cristin spent 12 years with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, during which time she served as both BOLI Chief Prosecutor and BOLI Civil Rights Division Administrator. ​

Hiring – Best Legal Practices

Session Description

Hiring a new employee is arguably one of the most important decisions an employer can make. During this session, Hershner Hunter attorneys Amanda Walkup and Mario Conte will guide employers through the hiring process using a legal lens - from recruitment through orientation. Employers will gain knowledge on how to comply with Oregon laws and how to avoid costly hiring errors.


Amanda Walkup Hershner Hunter, LLP

​​Amanda Walkup is a partner with Hershner Hunter, LLP. Amanda has years of experience providing practical advice to employers of all sizes. She has assisted clients with issues related to employment policies, workplace harassment and discrimination, discipline and termination, and conflict management. Amanda also advises employers on how to navigate state and federal medical and other leave laws.

Mario Conte Hershner Hunter, LLP

​​Mario Conte is a partner with Hershner Hunter, LLP, and in addition to his work with clients, serves as the firm’s managing partner. Mario helps clients resolve a wide range of legal issues and disputes, principally involving employment laws, policies and relationships, and business-to-business contracts.​

Tips, Tricks and Traps in Navigating Wage and Hour Issues

Session Description

Chet Nakada and Jeff Burgess will examine some common wage and hour questions and offer practical solutions. Navigating wage and hour law is fraught with risk. This session will cover issues that Oregon employers frequently struggle with: classifying a worker as an independent contractor or an employee, rest and meal periods, compensable work time (on-call pay, travel time, meeting and training time and preparatory/concluding activities), payroll deductions and final paycheck issues. Join us for a lively, fast-paced conversation!​​


Jeff Burgess Employer Assistance, BOLI

​​Jeff received his undergraduate degrees in Business Economics and Law and Society from the University of California at Santa Barbara where he was a Scottish Rite scholar. He went on to law school at the University of Mississippi and practiced law in California and Colorado for 15 years, focusing on litigation. He joined the Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2002 where he was an agency prosecutor for 7 years, taking civil rights and wage and hour cases to administrative hearing. In 2009 he joined the Employer ​Assistance Program where he teaches seminars, edits handbooks and answers inquiries about employment law for business owners, managers, human resources professionals and attorneys. Jeff lives in McMinnville with his wife Tiffany and various critters.

Chet Nakada Employer Assistance, BOLI

​​Chet Nakada is a Training and Development Specialist with the State of Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Employer Assistance Program. He started with the Agency in 1995. He conducts employer seminars and helps employers comply with Oregon's Wage and Hour and Civil Rights Laws. Prior to working for Employer Assistance he worked as a Senior Civil Rights Investigator and prosecuted cases for the Agency in the Administrative Prosecution Unit.​

Child Labor: Practical Tips and Top Missteps

Session Description

In this tight labor market, many employers are looking for workers wherever they can find them, including hiring minors for the first time. This session will provide an overview of the basics, plus tips to stay compliant with child labor’s unique workplace rules.

What are the most common enforcement issues? Mistakes on applications? What’s involved in a typical child labor investigation? Find out in this interactive session designed to de-mystify the process of onboarding minors into the workplace – without the compliance risk!​​​


Charlie Burr Employer Assistance, BOLI

​​Charlie Burr works as a training and development specialist for the agency’s Technical Assistance for Employers Program, where he helps businesses large and small navigate complex and changing workplace requirements. Previously, Burr served as BOLI’s public information officer for five years, providing communications support for the agency’s legislative agenda and enforcement initiatives. Prior to joining the agency, Burr provided strategic communications services to energy, transportation and real estate clients while working with a global public affairs firm. Burr lives in northeast Portland with his wife Libby, daughters Marigny and Shelby, and dog Diamond.​

Karlee Rodriguez Employer Assistance, BOLI

​Karlee Rodriguez is a Training, Development and Apprenticeship Specialist with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Employer Assistance Program and Apprenticeship and Training Division. She is a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in Public Health. Karlee lives in Eastern Oregon where she is able to meet with individuals, employers and organizations to discuss employment law best practices and develop apprenticeship opportunities. In her free time she likes to run, read and hike ​with her fiancé and two fur-babies Lola and Atta.​​

DEI Concepts: Examining Workplace Culture in the “New Normal”

Session Description

There is no denying that the workplace (and, specifically, workplace culture) has changed dramatically over the last few years. While “DEI” is not a new acronym for many organizations, the rapidly-evolving social, economic, and political landscape is forcing employers to examine diversity, equity, and inclusion in new ways. This presentation will briefly discuss current trends affecting workplace culture, and provide practical ideas for employers desiring to implement a more intentional DEI focus into their workplace. This presentation will also discuss legal trends related to DEI, including pay equity and transparency, affirmative action, and other laws impacting DEI efforts.​


Lindsey Krause Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

​​Lindsey Krause uses her insights from her days as a plaintiffs' side litigator to defend employers against claims of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wage and hour violations. Her experience includes both individual and class action claims in state and federal court, having engaged in all aspects of litigation including pre-suit negotiations, depositions, conducting discovery, drafting motions, appearing at trial, and appeals.

Strategic Documentation

Session Description

You’ve heard that good documentation is key for defending against a future employee lawsuit or charge. But what kind of documentation stands up best in court or before a government agency? How do you prioritize what to capture, and—most importantly—how on earth can you find the time to fit it in? This session will cover these topics and more, including practical tips on how to efficiently make case-winning documentation part of your management routine.​


Kurt Barker Best Best & Krieger LLP​

​​Kurt Barker is a partner at Best Best & Krieger* in Bend, Oregon, and serves as head of the firm’s Oregon employment law team. He is the current Legislative Affairs Chair of Central Oregon SHRM and a past President of its board; he also serves on the board of the Central Oregon Employers Council. Kurt has been representing employers in all aspects of the employment relationship for 21 years, including counseling regarding terminations, discipline, accommodations, and more, drafting handbooks and contracts, conducting anti-harassment and other trainings, helping employers avoid claims, and defending them before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. Since 2012, peers repeatedly have selected Kurt for listing in Best Lawyers in America for his work in both (1) Management-side Employment Law and (2) Labor and Employment Litigation.​​

*Karnopp Petersen LLP merged with Best Best & Krieger LLP, effective Jan. 1, 2022.​

Navigating Injured Worker Leave

Session Description

Your workers’ compensation insurer is handling your employee’s what? This session gives employers insight into what is happening on the workers’ compensation front but focuses primarily on what employers can do to manage leave. We will discuss how absences for injured workers fit into other leave obligations (Oregon Sick Leave, OFLA, FMLA, ADA) and outline tools an employer can use to juggle these various obligations.


Rebecca Watkins SBH Legal

​​Rebecca Watkins is a partner at SBH Legal, a Portland firm providing solutions to employers regarding all aspects of their workforce. Rebecca’s expertise in workers’ compensation as well as leave laws, discrimination laws and wage and hour requirements provides employers with holistic advice about how to navigate difficult employment decisions. In addition to consulting with employers, Rebecca defends employers and their insurers before administrative agencies, trial courts and on appeal.

Rebecca is admitted to the Oregon State Bar; Washington State Bar; United States District Court, District of Oregon; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; US Supreme Court. She is a current member of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel and OSB Labor & Employment Law section.

Compensation in the Remote and Hybrid Workforce

Session Description

Every organization is facing changes in the workforce. What employees want, what organizations can offer, where work is accomplished, and how it is paid. The hybrid or remote work decision also comes with some common compensation questions. In this session we will cover those questions and discuss the considerations each organization should make related to employees interests and the law.


Laurie Grenya HR Answers, Inc.

​​Laurie possesses over 20 years of Human Resources experience. She has been with HR Answers for six years and became the owner and president this past year. Her area of HR expertise is all things compensation. She has a deep knowledge of compensation policy, pay structures, incentive pay, and the related legal considerations such as pay equity and fair labor standards act. She has worked with private industry, nonprofits, and governments at all levels. Laurie has a passion for effective management and a keen eye for alternative solutions within best practice and acceptable risk.​

Managing Performance in Legally Risky Situations

Session Description

Addressing employee performance issues is challenging enough. When performance issues arise amidst legally risky circumstances, many managers prefer to run to the hills. This session will provide recommended practices for identifying circumstances that create legal risk when managing performance. This session will also discuss proven ways to address performance amidst legally risky situations, such as when an employee is on leave or receiving an accommodation, or has made a complaint.​


Jeff (Brecht) Duncan Shareholder, Lane Powell PC

​​Jeff (Brecht) Duncan represents health care companies and providers, with an emphasis on the senior housing, postacute, and long term care industry. Jeff helps clients handle regulatory compliance, risk management, HIPAA / privacy issues, employment matters, and complex involuntary discharges, and he defends them in administrative hearings against agency actions and in civil court against wrongful death and other claims.

Christine Thelen Shareholder, Lane Powell PC

​​As a former Human Resources Consultant, Christine Thelen brings to her practice a unique understanding of the challenges employers and HR professionals face, from workplace disputes and employee relation issues to compliant policies and practices. Christine excels at providing executives, managers, and HR professionals with practical advice and real world solutions that are tailored to their unique workplace culture and goals. She is a natural problem solver skilled at helping her clients navigate an array of compliance, employee relations, and workplace issues​.​

An Interactive Presentation on the Interactive Process: Best Practices for Accommodating Disabilities in the Workplace

Session Description

Participate in an interactive presentation on best practices for accommodating disabilities in the workplace. Topics to be addressed include handling the initial accommodation request, beginning the interactive process, documentation, adjusting/revisiting accommodations, and leave as a reasonable accommodation.


Jacqueline Houser Lewis Brisbois​

​​Jacqueline Houser is a partner in the Portland office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment Group. Jacqueline devotes her legal practice to management-side employment law litigation, and advice and counseling. She represents employers of all sizes in a myriad of employment law matters including disability accommodations, leaves of absence, discrimination and harassment, and terminations.

Jacqueline also advises and counsels employers on best practices for avoiding litigation and on employee-related policies and procedures, including performing handbook analysis for compliance with state and federal laws, advising on discipline and termination decisions, and drafting handbooks and policies.​

Employee Surveillance and Moonlighting Issues in a Remote Work World

Session Description

This session will focus on employer options to track productivity and availability, as well as employee moonlighting. Following the pandemic, employees are choosing to pursue other employment or “gig” economies given the flexibility in hours that som​etimes work-from-home provides. We will discuss the legal implications of these topics and recommendations.


Blerina Kotori Tonkon Torp​

​​Blerina is a partner in Tonkon Torp’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. For over a decade, she has represented and defended employers in numerous matters, including discrimination, retaliation, FMLA, OFLA, and ADA, wage and hour, harassment, and employment agreements. Blerina also represents employers in agency investigations of civil rights violations and wage and hour compliance—whether for individual complaints or systemic audits. She advises management on countless employment issues, from risk assessment of terminations and complex medical leave situations, to evaluating employee classifications and drafting employment documents.

Blerina further partners with clients in conducting workplace investigations, whether they relate to wage and hour issues or harassment and safety concerns. Her clients range from nonprofit organizations to national companies in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, military defense, and financial services.

Recent accomplishments include trying to a favorable jury verdict non-competition and fiduciary duty claims, trying to favorable judicial ruling trade secret, breach of employment agreement, and non-competition cases, defending wage and hour class actions, and winning summary judgment on defamation and tortious interference claims involving employees.

The Portland Business Journal named Blerina as one of its 2018 Forty Under 40 award recipients, recognizing influential business and community leaders in the greater Portland area who are under 40 years old.

Blerina is a frequent speaker on labor and employment issues, including HIPAA and employment benefits, dealing with mental disorders in the workplace, social media in employment settings, as well as on privacy and electronic discovery issues.

Blerina previously worked at Tonkon Torp as a summer associate. She was the first Tonkon Torp associate to receive the Moe M. Tonkon and Frederick Torp Scholarship. In her free time, Blerina likes to spend time with her family, cook, dance, and travel.

​ Blerina was born and raised in Albania. She came to the U.S. to pursue her education, graduated from Reed College and Lewis & Clark Law School, and joined the firm in 2007. While a law student, Blerina was selected by the Dean to receive the Moe M. Tonkon and Frederick Torp Scholarship, which encourages the development of young attorneys who demonstrate exceptional aptitude for the law. Blerina is fluent in Albanian and in her free time likes to keep her Italian alive. When she is not practicing law, Blerina dances salsa and tango, and works on completing her Albanian food cookbook.​

Day 2 - Thursday, November 10th 

Paid Leave Oregon

Session Description

Join us to learn more about changes to state law impacting large and small employers. Contributions for paid family, medical, and safe leave will take effect January 1, 2023. Eligible employees can apply for benefits beginning September 3, 2023. This session will review the requirements of the program, draft rules, an overview of the Paid Leave website and resources, OEDs modernized system Frances, and what you need to do to make sure you are ready for this new program.


Matthew DeRosa (he/him) – Paid Leave Oregon Operations and Policy Analyst​

Anne Polak (she/her) – Paid Leave Oregon Outreach Program Analyst​

Monica Torres (she/her) – Paid Leave Oregon Outreach Program Analyst

Managing Mental Health in the Workplace

Session Description

It’s no surprise that the last two and half years have taken a significant toll on employees’ mental health. Join us for a discussion on how to navigate the often complex scenarios that arise when employees experience mental health challenges. Topics to be addressed include reasonable accommodations, managing performance and behavior issues for employees suffering from mental illness, fitness for duty exams, and identifying when an employer might have a duty to act.


Melissa Healy Stoel Rives LLP

​​Melissa represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law. She advises on and serves as counsel in high-stakes labor and employment matters, including those related to employee accommodations, and conducts investigations for public and private sector clients. She has a strong traditional labor background and regularly represents employers in discharge and contract interpretation arbitrations, and in matters before the National Labor Relations Board. She frequently conducts training for employees and management, including training on harassment, discrimination, and protected leave laws.

Melissa is a frequent speaker and author on a variety of employment and labor law topics. Among other activities, Melissa is a contributing editor for The Developing Labor Law and serves as Chair of the Employment Practice Group for the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel.

Melissa Healy
Stoel Rives LLP

John Dudrey Stoel Rives LLP

​​John focuses on assisting clients with complex labor and employment matters. He has significant experience in advising employers regarding anti-discrimination laws for protected classes and has developed expertise related to ADA accommodation issues. Over the past two years a significant amount of his practice has been devoted to advising clients regarding the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19, including accommodations.

John is a frequent speaker and author on a variety of employment and labor law topics. He has also served as an Instructor at Portland State University for the Professional Development Center Employee & Labor Relations Course. John is active with the Oregon State Bar Civil Rights Section and currently serves on the Executive Committee.

John Dudrey
Of Counsel
Stoel Rives LLP

Secret Life of a BOLI Complaint

Session Description

This session will cover an in-depth inside look at the BOLI Civil Rights Division complaint process. We’ll offer tips and tricks for communicating with investigators, drafting positions statements, navigating investigations, and handling the “dreaded” finding of substantial evidence of a violation.


Leila Wall Bureau of Labor and Industries

​​Leila Wall is the Civil Rights Division Administrator and Portland Operations Manager at the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). Previously, Leila was a Senior Investigator with BOLI’s Civil Rights Division and a Training and Development Specialist with BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers. Leila attended Lewis and Clark Law School where she studied employment law and was a law clerk at the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project. Leila enjoys helping Oregon employers understand and comply with all aspects of employment law.

Cristin Casey Littler Mendelson, P.C.

​​Cristin Casey is a labor and employment litigation and advice attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C. where she focuses her practice on representing Oregon employers in workplace disputes and helping employers navigate the complexities of Oregon employment law. Cristin has extensive experience in wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, retaliation, disability and reasonable accommodations, leave laws, and workplace investigations. Prior to joining Littler, Cristin spent 12 years with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, during which time she served as both BOLI Chief Prosecutor and BOLI Civil Rights Division Administrator.

How to track OFLA, FMLA, and Paid Leave Oregon in 2023

Session Description

OFLA and FMLA provides an eligible employee up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a “leave year.” Paid Leave Oregon provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a “benefit year.” How will you track all three? Beginning September 2023, a new parent may be eligible to take up to 24 weeks of unpaid OFLA leave in a leave year but only 12 weeks of paid leave in a benefit year. Likewise, a pregnant employee may take up to 36 weeks of unpaid OFLA leave in a leave year but only up to 14 weeks of paid leave in a benefit year. Join Joseph for a lively discussion on these and similar scenarios coming your way soon!​


Joseph Tam Employer Assistance, BOLI

Joseph Tam is a Training and Development Specialist with Employer Assistance and a former Senior Civil Rights Investigator with the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. He has been working for the agency for about 38 years. He is a graduate of Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho and Portland State University. He conducts in-person seminars and webinars on Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Oregon Sick Time Law, Injured Workers Laws, Life of a Workers’ Compensation Claim, Disability Laws, Workplace Harassment and Discrimination, Wage and Hour Laws, Payroll Issues, Effective Supervisory Practices, Legal Hiring Practices, Documentation, Discipline and Discharge, Dealing with Difficult Employees, Drug and Alcohol Issues in the Workplace, COVID pay, Reasonable Accommodations Issues, etc. throughout Oregon. He is known to make the Recordkeeping seminar “interesting.”

Best Practices for Conducting an Investigation

Session Description

Various situations arising in the workplace can trigger the need for an investigation – alleged discrimination or harassment, bullying, theft of company property, fraud, policy breaches, statutory violations, allegations of just cause, and so on. This presentation will provide guidance on how to conduct a fair, thorough and effective investigation based on best practices.​


Joy Ellis Foster Garvey PC

Joy advises and represents employers while working under the premise tha​t it is in the employer’s best interest to proactively address workplace challenges before they become unfixable problems or lawsuits. Joy works with employers in all aspects of their employment-related legal needs, including advising employers on how not to get sued; answering day-to-day questions about discipline, discrimination and harassment, leave laws, equal pay, accommodations, hiring, and termination; developing and updating employee handbooks; and negotiating non-competition agreements, executive employment contracts, and severance agreements. Joy conducts prompt, fair and thorough workplace investigations. She also conducts interactive on-site employee training on how to maintain a respectful workplace and prevent harassment. In addition to her advice practice, Joy is a litigator who defends employers. She has successfully handled hundreds of BOLI and EEOC complaints, and she regularly defends lawsuits in Oregon and Washington’s courts.

2022 Legislative & Regulatory Update

Session Description

In this presentation, Barran Liebman attorney Nicole Elgin, will cover the most recent legislative changes impacting Oregon employers. Topics will include latest CDC Guidance, DOL FMLA guidance for mental health related leave, Oregon OSHA Wildfire Smoke & Heat Illness Prevention rules, and planning for Oregon Paid Leave. With each development, Nicole will provide attendees with practical tools and advice on how to adapt to these legislative and regulatory changes.


Nicole C. Elgin Barran Liebman LLP

​​Nicole Elgin is an attorney at Barran Liebman LLP, where she represents employers in traditional labor and employment law matters. Nicole’s labor practice ranges from strategizing employer campaigns during a unionization drive to negotiating collective bargaining agreements and representing employers in hearings before arbitrators and the National Labor Relations Board. Her employment law practice includes working with employers to adapt workplace policies to the latest legislative changes at the state and national levels. Nicole defends employers facing investigation by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), Washington’s Labor & Industries (L&I), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

How and When to Work with an Employment Lawyer?

Session Description

Given that almost all HR issues are also potential legal issues, when should HR be working with an employment lawyer? And how can HR work most effectively with and get the most value from an employment lawyer? We’ll consider: the appropriate and effective use of attorney-client privilege; how to best equip your lawyer to represent your organization in defending employment claims; and use of an employment lawyer in matters like the ADA interactive process, discipline, termination, reductions in force, and more.


Paul Buchanan Buchanan Angeli Altschul & Sullivan LLP

​​Paul Buchanan is a partner at Buchanan Angeli Altschul & Sullivan LLP, a unique employment law firm that represents some of the most prominent employers in the country, as well as small and mid-size employers, individual executives, and rank and file employees too. Paul has more than thirty years of experience litigating employment cases in Oregon, Washington, and California and advising on employment law issues. He has obtained numerous jury verdicts for his clients.

In 2021 Best Lawyers recognized Paul both for his defense practice and as “Lawyer of the Year” for representation of individuals in employment litigation in Portland. Chambers USA has listed Paul in the top band of employment lawyers in Oregon every year since it began ranking Oregon lawyers. Super Lawyers​ has ranked Paul as one of the top fifty lawyers in the state of Oregon.​

Leveraging Turnover

Session Description

We’ve all seen the headlines - “The Great Resignation”; “The Turnover Tsunami.” And we are now seeing “The Great Regret” or “The Great Rethink”. Employees have been changing jobs in record numbers and employers are adapting to the reality of the changing workplace. In this session, we want to get beyond the hype and the hypothetical to discuss the real opportunities inside of this very real workplace issue.

There are things we can do! There are changes we can make! And there are opportunities to take advantage and leverage with a departing employee(s).

We’ll explore:

  • The difference between employee attrition and turnover.
  • Making sense of turnover—how to measure the impact and get real about the data.
  • Opportunities to use turnover to drive meaningful workplace change.
  • Survey questions that can be ask about employee organizational commitment, employee’s intentions to leave, job alternatives and more.
  • Ideas from attendees too.

The goal of this session is to learn about how we can continue to expand our influence and have an impact in addressing one of the biggest challenges facing so many of our organizations.​


Deborah Jeffries HR Answers, Inc.

​​Deborah Jeffries, SHRM-CP, PHR, CPC, serves as the Vice President for HR Answers, Inc. With over 30 years in human resources is passionate about the employee experience and helping organization build success from within. She is the editor of HR Answers’ monthly newsletter, Advantage. As a consultant and trainer Deborah works with organizations on the employment processes/activities, performance management, coaching, customer service, harassment, supervision/leadership skills, improved communication and more.

Her past work experience includes recruiting, training, education, sales and marketing, as well as HR in retail, restaurant, staffing, and manufacturing environments. She holds a BS in Psychology; a Minor is Sociology with a teaching certificate from Willamette University.

Additionally, she has served as adjunct faculty to Marylhurst University, Portland State University and Willamette’s MBA program, teaching business students key elements of human resources. Currently she is working with Linfield University teaching the SHRM Certification Prep course.

Clients comment on her no-nonsense practical approach, her energy, and her positive attitude. Deborah engages, motivates and encourages her program participants toward self-improvement and self-reflection as they build up their skills to become part of a team that creates a great place to work. Those that know Deborah describe her as energetic with a quirky sense of humor, a passion for HR, and a contagious laugh.

When Deborah isn’t in front of a classroom presenting, she loves her down time. She fills her time reading, arts and crafts, reality TV (don’t judge) and gardening. Deborah likes growing her own food (BIG blueberries and strawberries among other fruits and vegetables). She has her own rain barrel, composting ball and this summer had solar panels installed for the house. The house is off the grid! AND.... her favorite letter is M....why? Because she is Married (32 yrs.), a Mom, a Seattle Mariners fan, a Mickey Mouse fan and if you are looking for a friend for life, just supply Deborah with M&M’s and a Mocha Frappacino!​

Practice What You Preach: How to Handle Religion in the 2022 Workplace

Session Description

Over the past 2 years, employers have been faced with more and more questions relating to employees’ religious beliefs and expressions in the workplace. Religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine and diversity programs and policies, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and an increase in politicization in general, are just a few examples of modern issues affecting employers that have only arisen recently. Please join Megan Crowhurst and Christine Sargent for a lively discussion about changes and developments in the law relating to religious expression in the workplace and best practices regarding these issues.


Megan J. Crowhurst Littler Mendelson P.C.

​​Megan J. Crowhurst understands that each legal challenge requires a different approach depending on the goals of her clients. She is a passionate advocate, but she recognizes that offering superior legal services is not always about winning every possible argument. The most desired result often requires flexibility and consistent communication to ensure a cost-effective solution to every legal matter that comes across her desk. Megan has represented corporate clients of all sizes, from multinational corporations to family-owned businesses. She provides practical advice and training to employers on various employee-related issues, including FMLA and ADA compliance; effective discipline and discharge; conducting harassment and workplace investigations; reviewing employment contracts; and policy and handbook development and administration. When needed, she defends employers before state and federal courts and administrative agencies in all types of individual employee and class action labor and employment litigation, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful and retaliatory discharges and wage and hour issues. Before moving her practice to Oregon, Megan practiced labor and employment law in Chicago. She was president of the Moot Court Honor Board and editor of the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal during law school. Prior to attending law school, Megan was actively involved in politics and served as a White House staff member during the Clinton Administration.

Christine E. Sargent Littler Mendelson P.C.

​​Christine Sargent is an associate at Littler Mendelson. As an up and coming litigator, Christine defends her clients in civil litigation suits involving discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims. Her disciplined and competitive work ethic is well-known among her peers. During law school, Christine externed for the Honorable Stacie Beckerman at the District of Oregon and clerked for the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, which required her to be in court every day for arraignments and pre-trial proceedings. Christine regularly contributes to legal publications such as the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel’s quarterly journal, The Verdict. Christine also serves in numerous leadership positions in the local bar, including OADC (Defense Victories Editor; Vice Chair to the Employment Law Practice Group) and the Multnomah Bar Association (Young Lawyers Section Board Member)​.​​

Rightful Discharge

Session Description

There are few things as sensitive as terminating an employee. This presentation will focus on several best practices to help ensure a ‘clean’ separation. We will also address the latest Oregon requirements for separation agreements.


Clarence Belnavis Fisher Phillips​

​​Clarence Belnavis is the regional managing partner of Fisher Phillips’ Portland office and a partner in the Seattle office. He is a trial attorney focusing on employment litigation, including disability, racial and gender discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and wrongful discharge. Clarence also represents employers in wage and hour claims, employment class actions, and traditional labor matters.

In addition to his litigation practice, Clarence proactively advises clients with respect to labor and employment matters, including disability and return to work issues, employee handbooks, termination procedures and litigation avoidance.

Clarence also provides client trainings and educational presentations to industry groups and organizations regarding current and developing employment law issues.

He has been listed in Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers since 2006 and The Best Lawyers in America since 2009. He is frequently recognized in Oregon Super Lawyers for his work in labor and employment law.

​In 2011, Clarence was honored as a "Convocation on Equality Champion" in recognition of the diversity work that he has been engaged in during his career.

*Agenda and topics subject to change.