Issue 110 - April 2021
California JPIA Welcomes Labor and Employment Attorney Kelly Trainer Policky
The California JPIA welcomes Employment Practices Manager Kelly Trainer Policky, an experienced labor and employment attorney and a dynamic educator—who joins the Authority from Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP.
“Economic conditions, demographics, and a changing legal landscape continue to increase exposures leading to employment practice claims,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “Kelly will help the California JPIA’s members navigate the current employment environment.”
Policky has extensive counseling experience concentrating on employment and labor law preventive measures, such as employee handbooks and personnel rules, ordinances, and policies. She will leverage this experience in the new position as she manages the California JPIA’s Employment Hotline and supports member human resource professionals as they address employee relations matters such as harassment complaints, accommodation, and complex leave issues.
“After 18 years as a public sector labor and employment attorney, my true heart and passion is with advice, counsel, and training—the preventative areas of labor and employment law,” said Policky. “Helping the California JPIA’s members manage high-risk employment situations through honest and upfront conversations is a perfect fit for the parts of my job that I love the most.”
The Employment Hotline provides members assistance on employment matters that range from straightforward questions to complex investigations, including discipline, harassment and discrimination complaints, suspicion of criminal activity, Public Safety Officers and Firefighters Procedural Bills of Rights, and reasonable accommodation of disabilities.
“The Employment Hotline provides services that help manage risk and limit exposure,” said Policky. “While not intended to replace the advice of a member’s city attorney or labor counsel, the Employment Hotline can provide an extra level of review to ensure that not only the member but also the pool is as protected as it can be. This benefits everybody.”
The Employment Hotline continues to advance the Authority’s Employment Intervention Program, which assists members facing challenging employment action that might lead to claims. According to Liability Program Manager Paul Zeglovitch, since 2010, 279 matters have been handled throughout the Employment Practices Intervention Program/Employment Hotline, likely preventing numerous employment practices claims.
“The Employment Hotline has grown steadily over the years and continues to be more successful year after year,” said Zeglovitch. “The addition of Kelly, an attorney with a wealth of knowledge in the EPL arena, as a staff member, is something the Authority is really excited about. She will take the program to the next level.”
“The Authority brought this formerly contracted service in-house to develop the resource further and make it even more available to members,” said Shull. “Providing service to reduce risk, avoid litigation, and limit exposure is our primary goal. Kelly also will support employment-related initiatives such as policy development and programming.”
An experienced educator, Policky has conducted seminars and workplace trainings for the California JPIA, as well as the Public Agency Risk Management Association and California Public Employers Labor Relations Association, on matters such as harassment prevention, disability discrimination, workplace investigations, diversity and inclusion, managing difficult employees, workplace violence, discipline and termination, social media, performance evaluations, creating effective documentation, and leaves of absence.
“My favorite presentation that I’ve done for the California JPIA was ‘Choose Your Own Disability Adventure,’ which was an interactive, completely hypothetical case during which audience choices directed our path,” said Policky.
As a partner in Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP’s Orange County office, Policky represented and advised employers on labor and employment law matters including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability, wrongful termination, leaves of absence, wage and hour, freedom of speech and association, and privacy. She also represented public employers in areas such as due process, disciplinary procedures, the Brown Act, CalPERS, the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights, and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights.
Policky holds a B.A. from the University of Houston and a J.D. from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.
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