California JPIAThe California Joint Powers Insurance Authority’s (California JPIA) Employment Practices Manager Kelly Trainer Policky presented two sessions at the 2021 California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA) Annual Conference in Monterey, November 16–19, 2021.

CALPELRA provides training and professional development that helps California public sector labor and employment professionals better serve their local government agencies. The Conference, themed “Color Your Space: A Spectrum of Opportunities,” offered a forum in which attendees learned about and gained fresh perspectives on the nuances of California’s public sector labor and human resources.

First, Policky teamed up with Katy Suttorp of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP to present “Navigating through the Fog of Fitness-for-Duty Evaluations.” The session addressed the complex question: When and by what means is it appropriate to order an employee to submit to a fitness-for-duty evaluation? Policky and Suttorp analyzed the legal framework that governs fitness-for-duty evaluations, including disability laws under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Emergency Management Agency, medical leaves of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act and California Family Rights Act, and medical privacy standards under the U.S. Constitution and privacy statutes such as the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as well as Peace Officer Standards and Training for law enforcement personnel. Through real-life scenarios, participants learned about the circumstances that can—and the circumstances that do not—justify a fitness-for-duty evaluation, common mistakes and how to avoid them, how to effectively use fitness-for-duty evaluations in the workplace, the importance of having a fitness-for-duty evaluation policy, and how updating job descriptions can proactively address common fitness-for-duty issues.

In her second session, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Legal Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Policky and Traci Park of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP covered emerging liability and litigation issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, using examples from the more than 400 employment-related lawsuits filed in California over the last year. Focusing on what organizations can do to prevent and mitigate against liability stemming from the most common causes of action, Policky and Park also discussed how to develop policies and practices that will translate into a healthy and legally compliant workplace for the long term.

“It was an honor to be part of CALPELRA’s Annual Conference,” said Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. “Sharing information and exchanging insight with the influential professionals in attendance will reinforce the California JPIA’s commitment to stewarding best practices in risk management among our members and throughout California.”

Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at