We are so excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2016 HR Law & Solutions Seminar. Now in its 24th year, this full-day seminar is a fantastic opportunity for both new and experience HR professionals and other business executives to learn about important employment laws, network with their peers, and, of course, have a little fun! This year, we return to the gorgeous Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa on, Monday, April 4, 2016. Topics and speakers include:

  • Legislative and Case Law Update. Attorneys Robert Shearman and Vicki Sproat will provide an interactive update on notable court decisions, including cases addressing contentious employment policies and contract provisions, and other noteworthy employee claims.
  • The Intersection of Immigration and Employment Law: What You Need to Know and Probably Don’t. Immigration law is a hot button topic in our country’s current political landscape, particularly since this is an election year. For many HR professionals, the relevancy of immigration law is limited to I-9 forms and E-Verify. Attorney Tulio Suarez will give attendees insight on key immigration-related HR issues potentially faced by all employers.
  • Breakout Sessions. Henderson Franklin’s employment law, immigration, and workers’ compensation attorneys will break out in smaller groups to facilitate discussions and give attendees an opportunity to gain more information on specific topics of interest to them and answer any legal questions on any aspect of laws and issues impacting their workplace. More specifically:
    • Welcome to the Company, Please Sign Here. In such a litigious climate, it is more important than ever for employers to have their workplace documentation in order from the start of the employment relationship. Attorneys John Agnew and Suzanne Boy will give HR professionals, business owners, and managers guidance on how to prepare and implement solid employment policies and contracts.
    • You’re From the Government, and We’re Here to Help. Claims against government or other public sector employers often present special challenges. Attorneys John Potanovic and Bob Shearman will delve into the framework of, and best practices in dealing with, Florida Public Sector Whistleblower claims and Constitutional claims.
    • Tips to Recognize, Reduce, and Deal with Workers’ Compensation Fraud in the Workplace. For many HR professionals, employers, agents, attorneys and adjusters, fraud in the workers’ compensation system is often frustrating and confusing. Attorneys David Roos, Michael McCabe and Tania Ogden will give attendees insights on key issues and strategies to recognize and identify insurance fraud at the time of hire, after a reported work accident, during the course of providing benefits and how to best deal with the situation.
  • Ego vs. EQ: How Top Business Leaders Beat Eight Ego Traps with Emotional Intelligence. Somewhere along the line, while climbing the corporate ladder or growing their own company, highly-technical strong employees can struggle with maintaining a healthy level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that keeps them connected to their workforce and grounded in the day-to-day realities of their business. The risk of falling into “ego traps” increases, hurting the business and threatening their hard-won success. In this session guest speaker Jennifer Shirkani will help attendees discover ways to be an inspirational and emotionally-engaging leader.
  • Lawful and Unlawful Use of Social Media for Hiring and Retention. Researching applicants for employment is common place in today’s online environment. If your company searches prospective candidates on social media without appropriate guidelines to ensure compliance with state and federal laws, you may be subject to lawsuits for discrimination. Social Media Attorney Ethan Wall will educate attendees on the laws that govern the use of social media for hiring and retention.

Continuing Education

This conference has been approved by SHRM for 5.25 PDCs and by HRCI for 5.25 Recertification Credit Hours (General).

Conference Partners

We are grateful for the support and sponsorship of Lykes Insurance (lunch sponsor), Charlotte County SHRM, SHRM SWFL, and HR Collier.

Overnight Accommodations

Since the seminar is on Monday this year, we have reserved a block of rooms at Sanibel Harbour for $189/night. To make hotel reservations, click here. Reservations must be made by March 3 to take advantage of the group rate.

Seminar Registration

Registration is $40 per person and includes a continental breakfast, plated lunch, seminar materials and valet parking. Click here to download the brochure. Click here to register.

If you have any questions, please let us know. We look forward to seeing you all on April 4!

10-12-2015 3-48-06 PMWhether you have 10 or 10,000 employees, running a business can be a challenge. Making decisions based on strategic reasoning is critical to the success and longevity of any company. How can members of the c-suite, as well as the small business owner, gain helpful insight into the boardroom and, at the same time, try and avoid the courtroom?

We cordially invite you and your top-level managers to join members of Henderson Franklin’s legal team on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 as they present the Southwest Florida C-Suite Summit at Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. Topics and speakers include:

The Recipe for Business Longevity presented by Attorneys Guy Whitesman (Chair, Business and Tax Department), Eric Gurgold (Chair, Estate Planning and Administration Department) and Mark Nieds (Intellectual Property Group). They will outline proven techniques and best practices to preserve, protect, and perpetuate your business. One size does not fit all. The panel will explore avenues to successful business perpetuation, liquidity events and the preservation of wealth.

The Comeback Kid: Southwest Florida’s Ongoing Economic Recovery. Attorneys Denis Noah (Chairman of the Horizon Council) and Russell Schropp (Horizon Council Task Force Chair) will provide a look at the state of Southwest Florida’s economic recovery – from a lawyer’s perspective! Continue Reading Registration is Open — Southwest Florida C-Suite Summit

We are so excited to announce details for the 21st Annual HR Law & Solutions Seminar!  This year’s event will be held March 19, 2013 at Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa

For our 21st seminar, we will offer sessions on workplace investigations, workers’ compensation, immigration, health care reform, and of course the case law update.  We’re also bringing back the employment law Jeopardy, since it was a lot of fun and got rave reviews last year!  For our guest speaker, we are excited to welcome Chip Madera, a dynamic motivational speaker who will present HRKeepers of the Culture:  Creating a Workplace of High Performance, Quality, and Excellence.  

Special thanks to our lunch sponsor Lykes Insurance.  Lykes has been a great partner for us over the years, and we are honored to have Lykes’ continued support. 



Another special thanks — and warm welcome — to our new partner, and breakfast sponsor, CTR Systems, Inc.  We are so happy to have you on board!



We’ll be spotlighting our sponsors here on the blog as we get closer to the seminar.   If your company would like to become a sponsor, contact Gail Lamarche to discuss your options.

Registration will open at the beginning of February.  We hope you’ll join us this year, as we aim to make this the biggest and best HR Law & Solutions yet!


I am pleased to feature a post from guest blogger Amanda Brock.  Amanda is a Henderson Franklin attorney and regular contributor to the Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate, our real estate blog.  As many of you will remember from our seminar last month, in addition to her land use and environmental law practice, Amanda is assisting our clients with immigration-related matters.  Here, Amanda offers several great pointers for I-9 retention:

Who doesn’t love filling out mandatory forms from the federal government? In addition to being mandatory, the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms come with a host of regulations that can easily trip up even the most experienced HR professional. Adding insult to injury, if the government audits your I-9s, you generally have only 3 days to respond.

I recently heard a great presentation from Colorado attorney Jeff Joseph, who shared a few key pointers that may help your company retain the I-9s in the event of an audit:

*       Conduct an annual in-house inspection of I-9s for all employees (or ask outside counsel conduct mock audits);

*       Identify one person to be in charge of I-9s to streamline the process and retain documents (and train this person regularly on I-9 regulations);

*       Make sure all employees have an I-9 (every employee hired after 11/6/86 should have one, with limited exceptions);

*        Make sure you’re using the correct form – the current version is at www.uscis.gov;

*        Regularly check the Handbook for Employers Form M-274 issued by USCIS – it’s a great reference material and updated frequently;

*        Keep I-9s for the proper period and purge after the period passes – this includes current employees and may include prior employees – you must keep the I-9 for 3 years from the date of hire or 1 year from the date of termination, whichever is longer; and

*       File your I-9s in 3 separate folders:

o       Current Employees

o       Prior Employees (review regularly for any you can purge – holding on to them for too long can actually create a liability)

o       Follow-up (those that need re-verification – for example, an employee’s I-94 showed work authorization for only one year; you should calendar a reminder to review in one year to be sure they are still in compliance)

Following these tips will ensure a much easier experience if you are audited, and have the nice side effect of also streamlining your everyday operations. This is a win-win, and who doesn’t love a win-win?!

We are pleased to welcome Amanda into our extended employment law family, and happy to now offer these additional services to our clients.  If you have any immigration-related issues, Amanda can be reached at 239.344.1269 or at amanda.brock@henlaw.com


Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued its Final Rule on the Employment Eligibility Verification process.  That’s the fancy name for the Form I-9, which all employers must complete for all newly hired employees.  The Final Rule becomes effective May 16, 2011. 

According to the USCIS press release, the main changes made by the interim rule include:  "prohibiting employers from accepting expired doucments; revising the list of acceptable documents by removing outdated documents and making technical amendments; and adding documentations applicable to certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands."

As you all know, the list of acceptable documents is divided into three sections:

  • List A—documents that establish both identity and employment authorization (ex. U.S. passport, Permanent Resident Card) 
  • List B—documents that establish only identity (ex. driver’s license, ID card)
  • List C—documents that establish only employment authorization (ex. birth certificate, social security card)

Review the list of acceptable documents and make sure you aren’t accepting any of the documents that were removed from the list.   You may continue to use the current version of the Form I-9 (rev. 08/07/09) or the previous version (rev. 02/02/09).

If you have questions, check out the Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9.  I’ve used it in the past and found it to be very helpful.

Immediately after being sworn-in as Florida’s Governor on Tuesday, Rick Scott signed several executive orders, including Executive Order 11-02, which will require state agencies to use E-Verify for all current and prospective agency employees.  Perhaps more importantly for our readers, the Executive Order also requires all employers who are state contractors to use E-Verify to check the work eligibility status of anyone employed in Florida during the contract term, and anyone (including subcontractors) hired to perform work pursuant to the state contract.

E-Verify is an online system provided by the Department of Homeland Security that allows employers to check the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States.  It is currently mandatory for most federal contractors and in a handful of states.  Until now, it was not mandatory for employers (other than federal contractors) in Florida.  It will be interesting to see whether Governor Scott eventually pushes to require all private employers to use E-Verify, a promise he made on the campaign trail.  For now, however, only state agencies, state contractors, and state subcontractors will be affected.

The text of the Executive Order instructs state agencies to include the E-Verify requirement for all state contractors and subcontractors expressly as a condition of state contracts.  Based on this wording, it appears this requirement will only affect new state contracts. 

Employers who hold state contracts should pay close attention as this requirement takes effect.  For more general information on E-Verify, check out the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services websites.